JAPAN | New nuke body by April: Hosono

Posted on July 18, 2011

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JAPAN | JAPAN TIMES | 18 July 2011

Goshi Hosono, state minister in charge of handling the nuclear crisis, said Sunday that a new regulatory body for atomic power should be established by April.

Speaking on talk shows on TV stations that include NHK, Hosono said of the timing of the body’s establishment, “Given the huge scale of the problem, and that the nature of the (current) arrangement has been called into question, we cannot just leave it as is for two, three years or even longer.”

He said April will be “desirable” and he “would like to see a proposal presented by early August.”

Prime Minister Naoto Kan has raised the prospects of making the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency an independent industry watchdog by splitting it from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

On the new organ, Hosono said, “It is important to attempt unification of the nuclear safety agency and the Cabinet Office’s Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan.”

He also suggested that the new body should incorporate the radiation monitoring functions currently under the jurisdiction of the science ministry.

On whether the new regulatory body should be an independent commission separate from the government or part of the government, Hosono said: “I wonder if we can bring the benefits of both into one. I hope it will be a reliable administrative organization that can also serve the role of communicating views freely.”

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