Kyoko Oba, Economist and Sociologist, Tokyo, Japan

“Ethics of accountability and responsibility”

Kyoko Oba, an economist, environmental scientist and sociologist, deals with ethical issues concerning the nuclear industry.

“Like most others, I never could have imagined the atomic disaster at Fukushima Daiichi. In contrast to Chernobyl, the disaster wasn’t caused by man but rather by nature. It showed us the limits because we had lost our reverence of it. We were all lulled into a false sense of security and relied too much on experts. They claimed to be all-knowing, without holding themselves – or society holding them – to account that their knowledge is limited and control is needed. And we believed them. This was the mistake of the entire society. But despite all the criticisms, we also need to see that the experts and the entire atomic industry have a dual role: on the one hand, to provide a secure, uninterrupted energy supply for all people and on the other hand, to ensure maximum operational safety against threats that are deemed supposedly inconceivable. What we therefore need today is a different ethic, an ethic of accountability and responsibility. And we need experts who explain to people what they are doing. Japan requires nuclear energy, at the very least so long as there is no better technology available.”

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"It's not our business."