Haruki Murakami, looking pensive, head resting on his right hand

"Sixty-six years after the nuclear bombings, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors have now been spreading radioactivity for three months, contaminating the soil, the ocean and the air around them. No one knows how and when we can stop this. This is the second source of devastation caused by nuclear power in Japan but this time nobody dropped an atomic bomb. We, the Japanese people, paved our own way for this tragedy, making grave errors and contributing to the destruction of our own lands and lives.

Why did this occur? What happened to our rejection of nuclear power after World War II? What was it that corrupted our goal of a peaceful and prosperous society, which we had been pursuing so diligently?

The reason is simple. The reason is 'efficiency'.

The electrical power companies insisted that nuclear plants offered an efficient power generation system. In other words, it was a system from which they could derive profit. For its part, the Japanese government doubted the stability of petroleum supplies, particularly since the oil crisis, and promoted nuclear power generation as national policy. The electrical power companies spent huge amounts of money on advertisements, thereby bribing the media to indoctrinate the Japanese people with the illusion that nuclear power generation was completely safe.

Before we knew it, 30 percent of electricity generation was being supplied by nuclear power. Japan, a small island nation frequently struck by earthquakes, thus became the third leading nuclear power-generating country, without the Japanese people even realizing what was happening. We had gone beyond the point of no return. The deed was done. Those who doubted nuclear power generation were now asked the intimidating question: 'Would you be in favour of power shortages?' Japanese people had come to believe that reliance on nuclear power was inevitable. Living without air conditioning during a hot and humid Japanese summer is almost akin to torture. Consequently, those who harbour doubts about nuclear power generation came to be labelled as 'unrealistic dreamers'.

And so we arrived where we are today. Nuclear power plants, which were supposed to be efficient, instead offer us a vision of hell. This is the reality. The so-called 'reality' that has been proclaimed by those who promote nuclear power however, isnít reality at all. It is nothing more than superficial 'convenience', which their flawed logic confused with reality itself. ...