Japan’s power companies have quite a cozy relationship with one of the country’s political parties. Kyodo News reported today that 72% of donations made by individuals to the Liberal Democratic Party in 2009 came from acting and former executives of power companies.Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the owners of the failed Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant contributed over 14 million yen, one third of that money.
The LDP strongly supported nuclear power by subsidizing plant construction and by deregulating the energy sector in 2000.
According to documents released by Wikileaks, the government of Japan has history of lax enforcement of nuclear safety regulations. The government under the LDP allowed the companies that donated them money to put profit over safety time and again. In one report, the government all but ignored an IAEA warning that the earthquakes could pose a threat. In another document, it was revealed that the government overturned a local court’s decision to shut down a nuclear plant that they deemed unable to withstand an earthquake.
The LDP had almost uninterrupted control of Japan from the signing of the country’s constitution to late 2009 when they lost power to the Democratic Party of Japan.
In 1974, power companies declared an end to political contributions in response to public outcry over the power industry’s influence in government.
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