A day before the nation commemorates one of the world’s worst nuclear disasters in recent times, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says that his government is keen on restarting the nuclear plants that will be declared safe. Despite the strong anti-nuclear sentiment expressed by certain sectors in society, he said that once the plants have passed the new safety standards by the Nuclear Regulation Authority, they will be brought back online.
Speaking before the parliament at a session of the House of Councillors’ Budget Committee, Abe said that he also wants to win the understanding of the public on why the nuclear plants need to be restarted. He added he will listen to the concerns of the citizens while working closely with the local governments as they continue reconstruction efforts. “We are entering a fourth year (following the disasters). I want to make this a year in which (people) can achieve more reconstruction than before,” he stressed. Abe will be attending the U.N. World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction which will be held in Sendai in March 2015. The city was one of the most seriously affected places by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami of March 2011.
When asked about Japan’s much-criticized energy policy, he said that the country needs a “responsible” policy that will ensure that the economy and livelihood of the people will not be affected. He is open to having “constructive discussions” with the anti-nuclear opposition parties to discuss the feasibility of reducing Japan’s dependence on nuclear energy. Before the Fukushima disaster, 30% of the country’s electricity needs was supplied by nuclear power, a number which was greatly reduced in fiscal 2012 to 1.7% as all of the 48 nuclear reactors had to go offline due to safety concerns.
[ via Global Post ]