LDP alone in fighting nuclear power exit

JIJI, Kyodo

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party was the sole opponent of abolishing nuclear power in a policy debate involving the secretaries-general of nine major political parties Saturday.

While the representatives of the eight other parties backed ridding Japan of atomic energy generation, LDP Secretary-General Shigeru Ishiba said lawmakers should not mislead the public by calling for a zero-nuclear option. Ishiba said the LDP will aim to reduce the nation’s dependence on atomic energy but underscored his party’s plans to push for a restart of idled reactors once they are deemed safe.

“If we don’t (suggest) ways to reduce dependence on nuclear power, it is not responsible politics,” said Ishiba. “(Other parties) should not delude the public by using phrases like ‘zero nuclear power.’ “

But Ishiba found himself in a minority of one, as the secretaries-general of New Komeito, the LDP’s junior coalition partner, and opposition groups including the Democratic Party of Japan and Your Party voiced support for the elimination of all nuclear power plants.

During the debate, held in Osaka ahead of the Upper House election, the secretaries-general were asked to hold up a board with either a circle or a cross to indicate their support or opposition for the zero-nuclear power goal. Ishiba was the only one to hoist a cross in the air.

Among the proponents, Japanese Communist Party Secretary-General Tadayoshi Ichida said it would be inconceivable to restart reactors or export Japan’s nuclear technologies given that the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 plant has yet to be resolved. His Your Party counterpart, Kenji Eda, said it would be irresponsible to bring reactors back online when locations for disposal facilities for spent nuclear fuel have yet to be decided.

Among other issues likely to dominate campaigning for the July 21 House of Councilors poll, the party representatives debated Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s proposed constitutional revision and his government’s promotion of nuclear-related exports.

On Abe’s plan to water down Article 96 to make it easier to amend the Constitution, the LDP’s Ishiba and his Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) counterpart voiced support.

But DPJ Secretary-General Goshi Hosono slammed Abe and said efforts should be made to retain the two-thirds majority requirement needed in both chambers of the Diet for any constitutional amendment, as currently stipulated by Article 96.

New Komeito’s Yoshihisa Inoue supported him, saying that altering the charter should not be proposed before the public has thoroughly debated the issue.

  • http://www.devrandhawa.com/ Dev Randhawa

    Of course the other parties oppose nuclear – they are not responsible for dealing with the enormous economic costs and rise in emissions as Japan imports vast amounts of fossil fuels to burn when they could be using clean, low cost nuclear energy. The idled reactors have to be proved safe – that much is obvious – but then they should be restarted.

  • Paldo

    Nuclear is clearly the choice. Deaths due to nuclear power stations are much much less than suicide, car accidents etc.

    But the trouble is, Tepco is a corrupted and incompetent corporation that nobody, repeat, nobody can trust. Besides, Abe’s agenda is to have more nuclear power stations and thus more reserve for plutonium for his (or the LDP’s) nuclear weaponry plan in mind.

  • Beppe

    When including costs for subsidies and used fuel storage nuclear is more expensive than fossil. No nuclear reactor is safe, especially in an earthquake prone country like Japan. There is no such a thing like “proving” that a reactor is safe and Fukushima demonstrated it.

  • Beppe

    Nuclear is not cheap, not after you accounted for 500 billion (5000 oku) yen of subsidies every year and the cost of storing exhausted fuel. As to being clean and safe, Fukushima has proved it is not clean nor safe.

  • Casper Steuperaert

    Japan with it’s technology should invest the money they usually invest in nuclear energy in green energy and a smart grid. it could be the first nation to implement one.

  • GRLCowan

    Since 3-11 it has seemed to me that reports of antinuclearism on the part of the Japanese populace must be lies, that there must be a large, perhaps majority segment that supports the nuclear industry without having any connection with it except as electricity users.

    But English-language Japanese media have been reporting the opposite, majority antinuclearism, and blaming nuclear power’s tenacity on business interests. It seemed to me that to do this, dishonest polling techniques were required.

    So I wasn’t surprised on the recent occasion when only two of Japan’s power reactors were in service and one paper ran a poll offering four choices of timetable for discontinuing this, one choice of continuing it, and none of increasing it.

    But the *election* allowed Japanese to vote for the least antinuclear party, and they did. The LDP is courageous, and I think they are truly representing Japan’s environmentally concerned citizens, and will continue to benefit electorally.

  • Okan Zabunoğlu

    Japan had about 50 nuclear units in operation before the accident; and has a good deal of experience in nuclear electricity generation (several thousands of
    reactor-years). The cause of the accident, as far as is known, was a chain of historically disastrous events (tsunami following the earthquake).

    So, if Japanese really think that the cause is exceptional, I do not see any material reason for nuclear power exit. Do Japanese believe that nuclear power
    was OK until the never-expected disaster, but now it is not? Do they think that for so many years they lived arm-in-arm with such an unacceptable risk? I do not think so.

    They used nuclear power efficiently and safely, to improve their standard of living, to feed their industry, to take good care of the environment, etc. At this point, to abandon nuclear power would be like denying the past merits of it. I think that the scientific (and the Japanese) approach would be to continue utilizing the nuclear power, with added safety features learned in the
    lessons from Fukushima.