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Former Prime Minister of Japan to speak at Cornell

Naoto Kan, the Prime Minister of Japan from 2010-2011, will deliver a public lecture as part of the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies Distinguished Speaker Series titled “The Truth about the Nuclear Disaster in Fukushima and the Future of Renewable Energy” on Tuesday, March 28 at 5 p.m. in the Statler Auditorium.

When Kan took office, he supported the use of nuclear power. His position would undergo a radical change, however, after a March 2011 earthquake off Japan’s coast triggered a devastating tsunami. The tsunami killed more than 15,000 people, displaced more than 200,000, and swamped the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, causing meltdowns at three reactors. The event ranks with Chernobyl as the worst nuclear disaster in history.

In his book My Nuclear Nightmare, published by Cornell University Press, Kan offers a fascinating day-by-day account of his actions in the harrowing week after the earthquake and tsunami. He records the anguished decisions he had to make as the scale of destruction became clear and the threat of nuclear catastrophe loomed ever larger – decisions made on the basis of information that was often unreliable.

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