There has been a noticeable change in attitudes in Japan since the events of 2011. The earthquake and Tsunami obviously had a devastating effect, but it’s probably the disaster at Fukushima which were the real turning point for the Japanese people. The change has been noticeable among both businesses and individuals with all sorts of ‘green energy’ projects springing up all over the country.
There have been cooperatives established by businesses and citizens to help create new energy sources. In the city of Odawara, a group of companies have established an independent energy company to help provide an alternative to nuclear based plants. They are focusing initially on solar energy, by installing panels in strategic locations through out the city, but also construction has begun for a large solar plant which is hoped will supply energy for around 300 households.
There is a genuine drive to try and take lessons from the tragic events to make Japan a better place. Japan was of course famous for it’s high growth rate at the turn of the last century, an economic boom that was largely supported by over consumption domestically. The dumps and tips in Tokyo were full of one and two year old TV sets as the Japanese upgraded routinely in all manner of products. But you can feel the change, the events of March 2011 and the decade of stagnation in the economy have made the Japanese think again of repeating the same mistakes.
If you watch the Japanese media you’ll see a huge difference in attitude from the 1980s and 90s, although you’ll need some language skills and use of a Japanese proxy in order to listen to them. This is a much different society, one that has changed it’s priorities. There’s a good hope that this change in direction will benefit green technology directly with an increase in research and development in this area. We have seen all ready a Japanese firm generating electricity from the food waste of a noodle factory and the pulp from an nearby orange juice maker.
It’s not all good news on the environmental front though, there are still some who think the future needs nuclear power. The Government is currently drafting it’s latest energy policy and nuclear certainly plays an important part in that. Public opinion is definitely against this, stories of radiation poisoning which keep appearing are likely to polarize this view.
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