APDA The Asian Population and Development AssociationAPDA The Asian Population and Development Association

INTERVIEW

Closely connected with the issues of energy, food, and the environment, population issues are critical issues that may determine the future survival of the human race.

Member of the House of Councillors
Vice-Chair of JPFP
Hon. Teruhiko Mashiko https://teruhiko-mashiko.com/

Ever since the Great East Japan Earthquake on 11 March 2011, I have been working consistently towards my new mission and duty to restore my local district of Fukushima Prefecture and expand the use of renewable energy to end our reliance on nuclear energy.

As made clear by the COVID-19 pandemic, disruption of the global supply chains has a major impact on our ability to procure energy, food and other resources. I feel a sense of crisis about this state of affairs in our country, and believe that there is a pressing need to promote local production for local consumption of energy and expand the use of renewable energy.

Jointly with Hon. Toshihiro Nikai, I represent the supra-partisan Parliamentary Group for Geothermal Energy. We visit geothermal power plants in and outside Japan. Matsukawa Geothermal Power Plant in Iwate Prefecture is Japan’s first geothermal power plant that has continued to operate strongly for over 50 years. We have also entered into memoranda of understanding for cooperation with local governments in Iceland and New Zealand.

In the future, it will become possible to meet all of Japan’s electricity demand with renewable energy alone. For example, offshore wind has the potential to domestically generate 90 million kW, equivalent to electricity generated by 90 nuclear power plants. By using solar, wind, biomass and geothermal, and potentially hydrogen in the future, we hope to create a society without nuclear power plants as soon as possible.

A major challenge is finding the sites for final disposal of radioactive waste. This is an issue that politicians must confront head on. What is needed is transparency, trust, and independence. It was to address this issue that we established our supra-partisan parliamentary caucus.

I have been involved with population issues for about 30 years. After being elected to the House of Representatives for the first time in 1990, I began participating in JPFP activities under the chairpersonship of Hon. Shintaro Abe.

After entering the House of Councillors, I was appointed Executive Director of JPFP and worked with Hon. Yasuo Fukuda, the then Chair of JPFP, to promote mutual understanding and cooperation with fellow parliamentarians in other regions of the world tackling these issues.

In particular, parliamentarians from Africa have thought highly of and have substantial expectations on Japan’s support in terms of financial aid, personnel, and technical assistance.

Closely connected with the issues of energy, food, and the environment, population issues are critical issues that may determine the future survival of the human race. Even though many issues remain unresolved in this age of great transformation, I remain committed to tackling those challenges that only parliamentarians are in a position to address.

Interviewed in October 2020

※The titles shown are those held at the time of interview.

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