Top news: Japan’s economy minister wants to make nuclear power central to Japanese energy portfolio; Social media plays key roles in Italian referendums; and, Chinese government admit they are growing GM rice.


© Greenpeace / Chiaki Oshima


#Fukushima: News from Japan suggests that not everyone has yet have learned the lessons of the Fukushima nuclear crisis. It’s been revealed that during a meeting earlier this month, Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Banri Kaieda said that nuclear energy should play a key role in the country’s energy portfolio. According to The Japan Times, Kaieda’s position seriously undermines Prime Minister Naoto Kan's announcements for the development of energy-conservation measures and renewable energy as a pillar of national energy policy. During the meeting, Mr. Kaieda pointed out that the government intends to create a “best mix” of nuclear power, fossil fuel and renewable in order to meet Japanese mid and long-term energy needs. This decision appears to ignore the opinions of the Japense people, three-quarters of whom are against nuclear and wish to see a phase-out of nuclear power, as a survey by Asahi newspaper revealed earlier this week.

 Many environmental organisations, including Greenpeace and WWF, reacted to this news condemning government’s closed-door deliberations on energy and environmental policies.


#Nuclear: As the grassroots uprisings the Middle East have demonstrated the influence of social media on real world events, even the usually technophobic Italian government is now realizing how quickly an idea can be spread by over the Internet via such new technologies. La Republica reports how social media and social networks such as Facebook, Twittter and Youtube played a key role in raising awareness about nuclear power and water privatisation dangers amongst Italians. According to La Repubblica, Greenpeace is seen as one of the leading groups in the movement that led to the rejection of nuclear power in the country. Greenpeace’s Internet presence is vital to their ability to spread awareness on the net and mobilising a great number of people.


#GM Food: The Chinese government has finally admitted what we already knew: "Illegal GM seeds are present in several provinces because of weak management." The confirmation finally made official what has been well known in Europe for years. According to the website for the European Union's Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed, European countries found foodstuffs from China containing GM rice 115 times between 2006 and May this year. Agronomist Tong Pingya said "China does not need this genetically modified rice, as it produces enough and even exports a bit."