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Japan’s Pro-Nuclear Labor Union

SNA (Tokyo) — Explainer for Denryoku Soren, the Federation of Electric Power Related Industry Worker’s Unions, which has pushed the opposition Democratic Party toward a more pro-nuclear policy stance.

Transcript

Denryoku Soren.

It’s a major Japanese labor union.

The Federation of Electric Power Related Industry Worker’s Unions.

Denryoku Soren’s membership consists of almost 210,000 individual workers.

About half of its members work for the former regional energy monopolies.

That is, they work for companies such as TEPCO, KEPCO, Tohoku Electric, etc.

Denryoku Soren agreed to be interviewed by the SNA.

But their executives insisted that the interview not be filmed.

That’s why you are reading now instead of listening to their interview.

Denryoku Soren focuses on the well-being of energy power workers.

They lobby for higher wages and other employment benefits.

They also focus on worker safety in all of the various energy industries.

Denryoku Soren is a major component of Rengo.

Rengo is the abbreviated name for the Japanese Trade Union Confederation.

Rengo is the most powerful labour union group in Japan.

Rengo is also the most powerful backer of the Democratic Party.

The Democratic Party relies on Rengo to help it win some elections.

The head of Rengo is thus invited to speak at major party conventions.

Recently Rengo began strongly opposing Democratic Party nuclear power policy.

The Democratic Party wants to end use of nuclear power by the year 2030.

But Rengo, pushed by Denryoku Soren, wants to preserve nuclear energy jobs.

Some other Japanese labour unions are strongly opposed to nuclear energy.

Zenroren is the smaller, more activist labour union federation in Japan.

Their highest executive was pleased to offer a filmed interview to the SNA.

Yoshikazu Odagawa: The influence of nuclear energy on workers has both positive and negative aspects, I acknowledge. When it comes to the issue of providing jobs to workers going immediately zero nuclear would cause problems. But Japan at least has wind power, hydropower, and after those two it has geothermal power and solar power, etc. Renewable energy has a high degree of potential. I believe it’s possible to now develop those potentials. Our basic demand is to go zero nuclear immediately. But to say that we are heading to a zero nuclear goal and to set 2030 as the deadline well, we might think that timing is debatable and think we can go zero nuclear more quickly, but in respect to the Democratic Party’s basic direction toward a zero nuclear society in the future, we can appreciate that.

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