JAPAN | Japan not announcing complete phasing out of nuclear power: Edano

Posted on July 14, 2011

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JAPAN | MAINICHI | 14 July 2011

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Japan has not announced a complete phasing out of nuclear power, the top government spokesman said Thursday, in reference to Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s remarks a day before.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told a news conference that Kan’s call to create a society that does not rely on nuclear energy should be understood as “a hope for the distant future,” rather than the government’s official policy.

Edano pointed out that Kan had said Japan would use nuclear power plants for many more years by enhancing their safety, so the remarks should be taken as “the start of a national debate” on Japan’s new energy policy.

The spokesman also said both ruling and opposition lawmakers have agreed on the importance of reducing Japan’s dependency on nuclear power and he believes that this view has become a national consensus.

On Wednesday, Kan told a nationally televised news conference that Japan should aim for a society that does not depend on nuclear power generation” by reducing the use of such energy “systematically and in stages” in the wake of the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

In this March 20, 2011 aerial file photo taken by a small unmanned drone and released by Air Photo Service, the crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant is seen in Okumamachi, Fukushima prefecture. From top to bottom: Unit 1, Unit 2, Unit 3 and Unit 4.  (AP Photo/Air Photo Service)

The premier, however, did not set a specific time frame and say how exactly Japan would gradually be free from nuclear energy.

Edano also said the government needs to have a medium-term review on what to do with its current policy of promoting exports of nuclear technology as a source of economic growth.

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