Nearly 70% of Japanese who wanted to attend hearings on nuclear power hoped to discuss its complete abolition

Kyodo

Around 70 percent of citizens who wished to air their views on the future of nuclear power at public hearings held by the government wanted to discuss its complete elimination, officials said Saturday.

A series of 11 hearings, each in a different city, have been staged all around the country since July 14 to give the public an opportunity to express their opinions about the government’s three options regarding the role nuclear power should play in Japan’s new energy policy. The final forums held Saturday in Fukuoka and Takamatsu, Kagawa Prefecture.

Under the three options, the percentage of electricity to be generated through nuclear power by 2030 was set at zero, 15 percent, and 20 to 25 percent.

The government said Saturday that of the 1,542 citizens who wanted to take part in the hearings after being contacted by its officials, some 1,447 hoped to voice their thoughts about atomic energy.

Of the 1,447, some 983 people, or 68 percent, wanted to speak either for or against the complete abolition of nuclear power by 2030, according to the organizer of the hearings, the industry ministry’s Agency for Natural Resources and Energy.

The majority wished to speak in support of scrapping all atomic energy generation, while 11 percent wanted to talk about the 15 percent option and 16 percent of them about the 20 to 25 percent option, the agency said. Five percent wanted to challenge all three options.

The 1,447 did not include anyone from the city of Fukushima, even though it was one of the 11 venues selected for the hearings. The prefecture hosts the crippled Fukushima No. 1 power plant, which suffered three catastrophic reactor meltdowns in March 2011.

Meanwhile, the government on Saturday began a two-day public survey in Tokyo on the country’s new nuclear energy policy.

The government said it will take into account the results of both the public hearings and the Tokyo survey while formulating its energy and environmental policies, although it has yet to explain exactly how it intends to incorporate the findings.