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Stealing the Sun

Allow me to throw a few facts about Japan at you for a moment.

–          Japan has the 2nd highest national debt to GDP ratio in the world at over 220%.

–          Japan is 75% mountainous with 90% of the population living in the basin areas. 

–          Japan’s population pyramid is upside down with the majority of their population 65+ y ears old. 

–          Japan is the world’s 3rd largest oil consumer in the world.  50% of their energy comes from oil and 90% of their oil comes straight from the Mideast.  

–          15% of Japan’s energy is nuclear energy.

–          Japan is one of the world’s leaders in geothermal energy and is second only to Germany in photovoltaic (solar) energy.

The recent tragedy in Japan is made even worse with the nuclear plant explosions.  Countless lives have been lost and it is likely that we will never know the degree of destruction caused by this earthquake and its aftermath.  In the midst of this tragedy, however, a sentiment is growing that could lead to a man made Japanese devastation. 

It wasn’t even hours after the waves began to destroy the Japanese coast that environmentalists began blaming the evil SUV driver for their role in causing them.  Immediately global warming was named the mechanism of this destruction.  Never mind that Japan sits in one of the most active areas in the Pacific Ring of Fire and has over 1,500 earthquakes a year.  Apparently your CO2 emissions can also throw the earth off its axis.

As if the earthquake and tsunami weren’t enough, the meltdown at 3 different nuclear power plants has thrown a countless amount of radiation into the atmosphere (earthquake to follow in response, no doubt).  The Chernobyl references have scared the whole world into frenzy.  Environmentalists have found a potential glass jaw in the nuclear energy arena, and it’s easy to exploit given the severity of this tragedy.  There’s just one problem – Japan can’t continue without it. 

As you can see by some of the facts laid out above, Japan relies more heavily on foreign oil than any country in the world.  They simply don’t have coal to dig, oil to drill, or natural gas to tap.  They don’t have space for wind turbines, and solar panels.  Yet, that’s exactly what the environmentalists of the world are calling for.  

Japan is in a terrible place.  With their debt spiraling out of control, they must control their energy policies.  Their only option (which also happens to be the most efficient option) is nuclear.  The country has had a hard enough time putting up nuclear power plants over the last few decades, many efforts failing due to resistance.  That resistance is about to skyrocket. 

Japan needs to learn from this terrible tragedy and look at ways to improve the safety in their plants.  Accidents and tragedies occur.  It is the reaction that the people have in the midst of tragedy that defines who they are.  If Japan cowers in response we may see the setting of the rising sun.


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  • Bunkerville March 17, 2011 at 10:26 AM

    The ignornace is/was overwhelming. Why on earth would you build the Nukes on one of the most active fault lines in the world? Same goes for us.
    Bunkerville recently posted..WH’s Carney To Tapper- “You Have Reporters In Japan”My Profile

    • RightHandMan
      RightHandMan March 17, 2011 at 8:28 PM

      Because they must. They simply do not have other energy sources.

  • Nick Lara March 17, 2011 at 5:49 PM

    I agree with you, we can’t let tragedy detour us from progress. Lessons will be learned and improvements will be made.

    • RightHandMan
      RightHandMan March 17, 2011 at 8:28 PM

      Thanks for the comment and read Nick.

  • Matt March 17, 2011 at 6:34 PM

    It’s a shame that the nuke story has hijacked the real tragedy. Far more people were affected by the quake and the tsunami than does the nuke disaster. There isn’t much that is going to resist an 8.9 quake and a tsunami.

    • RightHandMan
      RightHandMan March 17, 2011 at 8:27 PM

      Perhaps you’re right Matt, but the whole nation could suffer long term if they start answering the call to stop nuclear energy. Japan is a cluster of problems waiting to explode and energy is at the base.

  • Mike March 17, 2011 at 9:51 PM

    Nice article. Gets to the gist of Japan’s problems and what they need to do for the future.
    Mike recently posted..Obama To Use EO’s To Advance Gun Control AgendaMy Profile

  • Tony Fernandez March 17, 2011 at 11:46 PM

    The economic problems caused by horrible monetary policy and excessive regulations have crippled the nation for almost 2 decades now. This disaster is just the icing on the cake for the country.
    Tony Fernandez recently posted..US urges UN to take military action against LibyaMy Profile

  • Teresa March 19, 2011 at 9:34 AM

    Japan is in a horrible spot. They didn’t have much choice but to build the nuclear plants to try to alleviate their need for foreign oil, at least to some extent. There will be lessons learned from this tragic disaster. But, learning from our mistakes and rising up from the rubble is a part of life. May God watch over and protect Japan.
    Teresa recently posted..I Am Free by NewsboysMy Profile