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Murakami criticises Japan's nuclear policy
by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) June 10, 2011

Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami criticised his country's pursuit of nuclear power in an acceptance speech for Spain's 2011 International Catalunya Prize, a news report said Friday.

Murakami said that Japan's people, having suffered the world's only atomic bomb attacks at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, should have rejected nuclear power in the post-war era, the Kyodo News agency reported.

The author made the comments at a ceremony in Barcelona three months after the March 11 quake and tsunami disaster sparked the world's worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.

"The accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is the second major nuclear detriment that the Japanese people have experienced," he was quoted as saying, speaking in Japanese, by Kyodo.

"However, this time it was not a bomb being dropped upon us, but a mistake committed by our very own hands."

He said the Japanese people, having "learnt through the sacrifice of the 'hibakusha' atomic bomb victims just how badly radiation leaves scars on the world and human well-being," should have rejected nuclear power.

"Yet, those who questioned nuclear power were marginalised as being 'unrealistic dreamers'," he said, while the government and utility companies stressed nuclear energy's efficiency and convenience.

The novelist stressed that he was confident Japan would rise again to rebuild, saying, "We must not be afraid to dream".

"Do not be caught up by the evil dogs that carry the names of 'efficiency' and 'convenience.'," he said. "Instead, we must be 'unrealistic dreamers' who charge forward taking bold steps."

The novels of Murakami, a former Tokyo jazz bar owner, have drawn worldwide acclaim and been translated into almost 40 languages, among them "Norwegian Wood," "Kafka on the Shore" and "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle".

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Japan's tsunami and nuclear disaster: a timeline
Tokyo (AFP) June 10, 2011
Here are key developments in Japan, three months after a giant quake and tsunami ravaged the country's northeast, sparking the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl in Ukraine in 1986. Some 23,500 people are now estimated to have perished in the disaster, while almost 100,000 still live in evacuation shelters. - March 11, 2011: A 9.0-magnitude earthquake, the world's fourth largest sinc ... read more

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