Sat, 04 Jun 1994

Indonesia's top musician joins anti-nuclear campaign in Japan

JAKARTA (JP): Noted composer Harry Roesli will take part in an anti-nuclear campaign in a number of Japanese cities in an effort to prevent the export of the country's nuclear technology to Indonesia.

"We are not ready for nuclear plants. We are not even ready to take care of buses and public toilets," he told reporters last night preceding his departure for Tokyo.

Harry said that he is deeply concerned over Indonesia's readiness to handle such technology, which requires high standards and discipline. Referring to the accident in Chernobyl, Ukraine, in 1988, he was sure that the horrible disaster might also occur in Indonesia.

"We are not against the technology. But aren't there any other alternatives?" he asked. "Let the people decide whether they need nuclear or not!"

Harry, who represents the Indonesian Environment Forum (Walhi) and Indonesia's Anti-Nuclear Society (MAI), will be touring Japanese cities such as Tokyo and Osaka for a week, starting from June 5.

He has been invited by a committee working for the banning of nuclear exports from Japan to Indonesia. During his tour of Japan, Harry will perform songs with lyrics exhorting listeners to environmental awareness. He hopes the Japanese people will be sympathetic to his message and encourage their government not to send nuclear technology to Indonesia.

The tour has been planned by a number of Japanese non- governmental organizations such as Muria Forum and the No Nukes Asia Forum.

The government is planning to build 12 nuclear power plants on Java in the next 25 years at the rate of one every two years -- with capacities varying between 600 and 1,000 megawatts - to help the country cope with the rapid increase in electricity demand.

A feasibility study on the plant has been completed by NewJec, a subsidiary of the Japanese Kansai electricity company, which has political clout in Japan. The consultants have been paid 1.5 billion yen (US$15 million) to carry out the study.

Muhammad Anum, Walhi's campaign manager against nuclear power, believes that the construction of the nuclear plant in Indonesia is being heavily lobbied for by the world's nuclear industry.

He said that the industry has pressed Indonesia to construct the plant in order to encourage other developing countries to follow suit. (par)