Phasing out nuke power an aspiration, not policy: Edano

Kyodo

The government has not announced a complete phasing out of nuclear power, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said Thursday, in reference to Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s remarks a day before.

Edano told a news conference that Kan’s call to create a society that doesn’t rely on nuclear energy should be understood as “a hope for the distant future” rather than official policy.

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

He also said both ruling and opposition lawmakers have agreed on the importance of reducing dependency on nuclear power and he believes this view has become a national consensus.

On Wednesday, Kan said during a nationally televised news conference that Japan should aim for a society that doesn’t depend on nuclear power generation” by reducing the use of such energy “systematically and in stages” in consideration of the Fukushima crisis.

However, Kan didn’t set a specific time frame or say how exactly Japan will gradually shift away from nuclear energy.

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