WASHINGTON — A Japanese lawmaker said Friday that his country should move its parliament to Fukushima to provide an economic boost and show confidence in a region struck by a nuclear crisis after a massive earthquake.
Yasuhisa Shiozaki, who was the government’s number two from 2006 to 2007, acknowledged that some people may find his idea far-fetched, but said that Japan should consider it as part of a broader decentralization from Tokyo.
“I am proposing to move the Japanese Diet to Fukushima, sending the message to the world that we are not running away from this meltdown issue,” said Shiozaki, a member of the conservative opposition Liberal Democratic Party.
“Why not choose Fukushima to invigorate this area and economy and also cheer them up,” he said at the Stimson Center, a think-tank.
“The side effect is that there won’t be any Diet member who comes only because the Diet building is in Tokyo,” he said.
The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, 250 kilometers (155 miles) north of Tokyo, suffered damage to its power supply and cooling systems during the March 11 earthquake, leading some 85,000 people to flee due to radiation fears.
Officials and plant operator TEPCO have struggled to address worries over safety at home and abroad, with the government saying that that vast majority of produce coming from Japan remains safe.
Japan has for decades considered shifting parts of its capital either as a stimulus to a struggling provincial region or out of fear that a major earthquake in Tokyo could cripple the world’s second-largest developed economy.
The proposals have gained little traction. But Shiozaki said that Japan should be looking at an overall decentralization in light of the earthquake, which forced some companies to suspend production temporarily.
“The disaster especially exposed our vulnerable supply chain and the lack of forethought concerning geographic allocation of industries,” Shiozaki said.
The 9.0-magnitude quake, one of the most powerful in recorded history, set off a monster tsunami that together have left some 25,000 people dead or missing.
May 06, 2011