In his first television interview since taking office, Japan’s new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has expressed his desire to build new nuclear reactors. This is a complete reversal of the previous government’s direction to phase out nuclear energy for the country’s energy mix.
Abe assures that it will not be like the Fukushima Daiichi plant, which has suffered numerous nuclear meltdowns due to the earthquake and tsunami that hit eastern Japan in 2011. Referring to regular anti-nuclear protests, he said that the silent majority are amenable to returning to nuclear energy to boost the country’s ailing economy. But Abe’s statements might also be going against his Liberal Democratic Party’s campaign promise to prioritize the development of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind over that of nuclear power. The business-friendly LDP might have been won over by the Keidanren, Japan’s largest business lobby, who has repeatedly called for the restarting of Japan’s nuclear reactors.
Japan’s new premier is definitely not afraid of pushing people’s buttons. In a separate interview, Abe hinted that he may void previous administrations’ public apologies in 1993 and 1995 for using women as sex slaves during World War II. He said that his previous administration has found no evidence that such women were coerced into sexual slavery. This will definitely not sit well with neighbors South Korea and China who have repeatedly called on Japan about such war crimes and with whom Japan is currently embroiled in territorial disputes over certain islands.[ via New York Times ]