Koide Hiroaki: The Shooting of Mr. Abe via Pearls and Irritations & Atomicage政治
The young Koide Hiroaki chose the field of nuclear engineering because he wanted to contribute to the future of energy-poor Japan. Once he grasped that nuclear power was a technology so risky that it required disposable places and people in every aspect of its operation, he decided to dedicate himself to its abolition.
During 40-odd years at the Kyoto University Reactor Research Institute, he and like-minded colleagues dedicated themselves to this cause, offering their expertise to citizen movements and legal struggles, making specialist knowledge accessible to many.
The Fukushima nuclear disaster, which began on March 11, 2011, was a crushing blow to their efforts. In the days, months, and decade following the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Koide became the preeminent scientific critic of nuclear power.
In 2015, upon retirement from Kyoto University, Koide relocated to Matsumoto City. Surrounded by the Japan Alps, hiking and cultivating his garden, he has continued to exercise his sense of social responsibility through lecturing and writing.
On the 3rd day of each month, he has stood at Matsumoto Station with a placard bearing the words, “‘No’ to Abe’s politics.” Rain or shine, for one hour, 30 to 40 citizens join him in silent standing.
When Mr. Abe resigned in 2020, Koide rued that he was free to plead ill health and abandon the scene of his misdeeds with utter impunity.
Nor did he believe that Mr. Abe’s departure meant the end of his politics—the promotion of nuclear power, the exacerbation of inequality, willful passage of legislation facilitating military engagement and further erosion of Article 9 of the Constitution that renounced “war as a sovereign right,” all freighted with unaddressed acts of corruption. His fellow citizens agreed, and they have continued to stand on the 3rd of each month.
In response to multiple requests for his reaction to the July 8th shooting death, Koide, on July 9th, wrote the essay that follows during a flight to Sapporo to deliver a lecture.
Upon learning that at least one recipient who posted it on Facebook had it promptly taken down, Koide decided to post it on his own site.
The following translation, made with his permission, is based on that text, with preface added. That version will appear as the lead essay in the fall issue of the quarterly Kisetsu (formerly NO NUKES voice), to appear on September 11.[i]
A Country Descending into War
On July 8th, two days before the House of Councilors election, Mr. Abe was gunned down and died. I wrote the words that follow shortly thereafter.
The fears I had initially have unfortunately been born out: the mass media have only busied themselves lauding Mr. Abe’s achievements. I do not know how much this may have impacted the results of the election.
What is clear is that the Liberal Democratic Party has won by a landslide, and the forces favoring Constitutional revision have more than the two-thirds majority necessary for such action.
In war, human beings kill each other. In modern wars, the heaviest damage is inflicted on ordinary people who are non-combatants. War must not be waged, whatever the justification.
But Mr. Abe has been awarded the highest decoration of the country, the Collar of the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum, and it is said that a state funeral will be held in the fall.[ii]
Threatening trouble “if the bad guys attack us,” Mr. Abe and the Liberal Democratic Party have steadfastly strengthened the military; they are preparing to revise the Constitution so as to make Japan capable of waging war. And now, many Japanese are supportive of this position. We have fallen on perilous times. My heart sinks.