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Sunday, June 26, 2011


Quotes differ from personal view

Otaru, Hokkaido

Giovanni Fazio's June 19 comments about my June 6 Bilingual Page article, "What will Japan learn from the Fukushima meltdowns?," attributes opinions to me that I do not hold and — unless I'm badly misreading my own writing — did not express.

Fazio's statement that "Hoffman presents three arguments against the abolition of nuclear power" is true, or at least not untrue. Yet, the impression he gives is that I am presenting the arguments as my own, and that is false.

The arguments are those of others, and are clearly presented as such. Opposing views are also presented, for example, that of a geologist who excoriates the central government and power companies for shocking inattention to evident dangers such as active faults.

Nor am I, as Fazio suggests, in favor of nuclear power on economic grounds. He writes, "True, the loss of nuclear energy would involve sacrifice, but does the nation really need one vending machine for every 55 people?"

Japan most emphatically does not need it, and where Fazio finds the contrary view in anything I wrote is beyond me. I do say that "no nukes" could mean "drastically shrinking the economy." Unquestionably it would, in the short term at least, but my personal view — not explicitly stated in the article because it wasn't relevant to it — is: Let the economy shrink!

Nuclear power and its dangers aside, the economy is far too bloated and, I believe, occupies an absurdly, neurotically enlarged place in the life of modern mankind.

So it's a little mortifying to see myself represented as defending nuclear power for the sake of the economy. Fazio says, "Hoffman suggests that a switch to renewable energy is 'pie in the sky.' " I suggest no such thing; I merely quote someone making remarks to that effect.

Just wanted to set the record straight.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer's own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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