Tokyo based Citizens' Nuclear Information Center (CNIC) today welcomed a statement by the Jepara branch of Indonesia's largest Islamic organization, Nahdlatul Ulama, which declared the proposed Muria nuclear power plant "haram" or "forbidden". The statement was issued on September 2 by a gathering of over 150 clerics in Jepara, Central Java.
CNIC spokesperson, Philip White, said, "A striking aspect of Nahdlatul Ulama's statement is the concern it shows for the feelings and the well-being of the general community. The Indonesian government should now show its respect for the feelings of its people by immediately canceling the Muria nuclear power plant plan."
The Indonesian government has not yet made a firm decision to cancel the Muria plan, but there is a marked change in the statements it is making now. Instead of the certainty of its previous statements, the government is now saying things such as, "The Muria nuclear power plant plan is not final. The government has not decided yet whether it will be built or not."
Mr. White continued, "The Chuetsu-Oki Earthquake, which struck the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in Japan on July 16, proves that in earthquake-prone countries like Japan and Indonesia the concerns of the local residents are well-founded.
"The upsurge of protests in Central Java since the middle of this year, the Chuetsu-Oki Earthquake earthquake, and now this statement by Nahdlatul Ulama will make it almost impossible for the Indonesian government to continue its plan to build a nuclear power plant in Muria."
"The Japanese government and industry must accept that the writing is on the wall for Muria. They have been currying favor with the Indonesian and other South-East Asian governments in the hope of winning nuclear power contracts, but they must accept the will of the Indonesian people."1
The Japanese anti-nuclear movement played an important role in helping Indonesian's concerned about their government's nuclear power plan to understand the dangers posed by earthquakes2. Two Indonesians, including a local Jepara leader in Nahdlatul Ulama, Nuruddin Amin, visited Japan in July, immediately before the Chuetsu-Oki Earthquake. Besides lobbying government and industry, they also met local activists opposed to the Hamaoka nuclear power plant. Because of its location directly above the predicted Tokai earthquake, Hamaoka is arguably the most dangerous nuclear power plant in the world.
Mr. White said, "We are confident that Nuruddin Amin conveyed the message of Hamaoka to the Nahdlatul Ulama clerics, who issued the statement against Muria nuclear power plant. The wisdom of the cleric's statement is entirely their own, but Japanese activists contributed their wisdom about earthquakes."
International Liaison Officer
Citizens' Nuclear Information Center
Notes and References
1. Japanese government policy, as expressed in the Nuclear Power National Plan released by the Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry (METI) in August 2006, is to "actively support the global development of the Japanese nuclear industry". In 2006 METI commissioned the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) to carry out a study into the potential for introducing nuclear power to Indonesia and Vietnam. It was also reported that in August, while Prime Minister Abe was visiting Indonesia, he signaled Japan's willingness to cooperate with Indonesia's nuclear power plan.
2. Click here for more information about the visit of Indonesian anti-nuclear activists to Japan.
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