How could it be that the only nation ever attacked with nuclear weapons would choose to embrace atomic energy just a decade later? The Japan Times Online has reported, based upon declassified U.S. federal government documents from the Eisenhower administration, that the American promotion of nuclear power in Japan in the mid-1950s was aimed at quelling Japanese fears about, and protests against, U.S. nuclear weapons testing in the Pacific region. The Eisenhower State Department recognized the Japanese outrage about the exposure of Japanese fishermen aboard the Lucky Dragon No. 5, downwind of the Bikini Atoll hydrogen bomb test in 1954, as the most severe strain between the U.S. and Japan since the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 9 years earlier. President Eisenhower feared Japan's loss from the U.S. camp to the U.S.S.R.'s influence, and his State Dept. secretly recommended "It is important to our relations with Japan that we seek to remove the strong Japanese notion that atomic and nuclear energy is primarily destructive. We should accordingly attempt at an early point to include Japan in bilateral and multilateral actions intended to develop peaceful uses of atomic energy."
Eisenhower had delivered his famous (or is infamous a more appropriate word, given what it has led to?) "Atoms for Peace" speech at the United Nations General Assembly on December 8, 1953 (see photo at left). Dr. Arjun Makhijani and Scott Saleska, in their 1999 book The Nuclear Power Deception, documented that "Atoms for Peace" was a public relations ploy to calm American fears about the nuclear arms race, and justify the expansion of atomic enterprises in the name of societal benefit, when in fact the effort was more geared to U.S. nuclear weapons production, as well as to court foreign governments in the Cold War competition with the Soviets.
In a related story, the Mainichi Daily News has reported that as early as the mid-1950s, the Eisenhower administration had the help of the highest level Japanese elected officials, including the Prime Minister, as well as Diet (federal parliamentary) leaders. By the mid-1970s, the Japanese federal government was offering lavish subsidies to local municipalities willing to host nuclear power plants, including in Fukushima Prefecture.