Nissan Leaf-Owning Actor: Electricity Good, Nuclear... Not So Much

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Nissan Leaf presented to Japanese actor Isao Natsuyagi

Nissan Leaf presented to Japanese actor Isao Natsuyagi

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2011's earthquake and tsunami in Japan brought energy use into sharp focus.

Such events frequently cause grids to fail, but it was the inundation and subsequent meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear facility that garnered the most attention, and the disaster has turned the public strongly against nuclear power in the country.

With the release of a Japanese film inspired by the events in 2011, lead actor Isao Natsuyagi took the time to comment on nuclear energy--while picking up the keys to his own Nissan Leaf electric car.

In the film, Isao-san is a dairy farmer in a fictional prefecture of Japan, when an earthquake triggers a nuclear meltdown like that at Fukushima--near to his character's home.

Natsuyagi says he's quite similar to the character he portrays, believing energy discussion highly important.

“We humans need to think about what kind of energy we need to use in order to survive", he says, adding, "we are not the only ones who need to survive. We live today thanks to the environment including all the other animals and plants. That is why it is very important to think about energy because it affects them, too.”

Nuclear power taining electric cars' image in Japan?

Nuclear power taining electric cars' image in Japan?

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Some have worried that the nuclear disaster would actually turn Japanese customers off electric cars before the market had even started--the country previously generated 30 percent its power from nuclear sources.

Now, many of the country's plants have been suspended, decomissioned or shut down. Japan is in the midst of debate on whether to phase out nuclear power completely.

Natsuyagi's words are pertinent given his new Leaf--he'll be hoping, along with much of Japan, that there's a better way to power it in future than on nuclear-generated electricity.

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