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Philosophy of post-Fukushima (Masaki Takahashi)

Lecture around The 4th Revolution – Energy Autonomy

film   A screening of the documentary film The 4th Revolution – Energy Autonomy, as well as a speech by famous nonfiction writer Takahashi Masaki, who wrote Let’s Start a Renewable Energy Revolution (Otsuki Shoten, 2012), took place on Friday, May 17, 2013, at Hakusan Campus, Toyo University. The meeting was the first of the 2013 lecture series: “A Philosophy of post-Fukushima.”

   The 4th Revolution – Energy Autonomy is a German documentary film that was produced in 2010, just before the Great East Japan Earthquake. Following the Great East Japan Earthquake, Germany decided to close down all of its nuclear power plants and shift to renewable energy by 2022. Aside from Germany, the documentary was filmed in a variety of countries, including Denmark, the United States, Mali, and China, in order to show, from a variety of angles, how a shift to renewable energy has been possible.

takahashi   However, is such a shift to renewable energy possible in post 3/11 Japan? Following the screening of the film, Takahashi Masaki addressed this question head on. As a nonfiction writer, Takahashi has been engaged in a number of activities, including campaigning for nuclear abolition and assisting refugees. For the past few years, he has been conducting surveys on renewable energy in various regions of the world. Based on this experience, he explained the state of Japan’s power supply and various types of energy by comparing it to the situation of renewable energy in Europe. He argued that, instead of clinging rigidly to a simple dichotomy between reliance on nuclear power generation on the one hand and a switch to renewable energy on the other, we must first get an accurate grasp of data, such as how much energy is actually being supplied, whether there is an insufficiency, and, moreover, whether it is being wasted. Takahashi explained this point in an easy-to-understand and persuasive way. He then gave a number of specific examples illustrating the difficulties that arise when self-governing bodies and companies take the lead in using renewable energy. He also gave examples of how the power of local communities had successfully been utilized. To conclude, Takahashi argued that a change in local community-based attitudes towards power and energy would be the driving force behind the “renewable energy revolution.”

   The event was attended by students who came to the film and lecture between classes. There were also attendees from outside the university. There was unfortunately not enough time for a full question and answer session, but there was still a lively exchange of views between Takahashi, the audience members, and the researchers at the International Research Center for Philosophy.