Abe shrugs off Koizumi’s zero-nuclear exhortations


Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has publicly shrugged off calls by former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to quit nuclear power by going on TV and reaffirming his plans to restart the nation’s idled reactors.

“It is irresponsible to promise at this point to scrap nuclear energy,” Abe said on a prerecorded TV program Thursday, repeating his stance on restarts in light of the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

In the House of Representatives last week, Abe responded to an anti-nuclear opposition lawmaker who mentioned Koizumi’s remarks by saying his government would pursue a responsible energy policy. Koizumi, who led Japan between 2001 and 2006, has retired but remains popular with the public.

Earlier this month, he called on the Abe government to end nuclear power after the world’s worst nuclear catastrophe since Chernobyl took place at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 power plant in March 2011.

“The country’s wealth is flowing out,” Abe said, noting that the nation’s utilities are spending nearly ¥4 trillion a year to import fuel for thermal power generation to offset the loss of atomic power from the reactor-safety shutdowns. “We will be in big trouble if the situation continues,” he warned.

Abe’s economic plans, dubbed “Abenomics,” have played a major role in jacking up fuel costs by weakening the yen by 20 percent since late last year, driving up the cost of imports — and most of the gains in the consumer price index.

  • jimhopf

    Not only will keeping the nuclear plants shut (and relying on expensive fossil fuel imparts instead) be economically disasterous, but it will be a public health and environmental disaster as well. In addition to the massive increase in CO2 emissions (greatly contributing to global warming), the air pollution from fossil fuel plants results in public health risks that are vastly larger than any associated with nuclear power. Characterising this as a trade off between economics and public health is totally inaccurate and irresponsible. Using fossil fuels instead of nuclear is far worse for both.
    The fossil fuel plants Japan is using instead of its nukes will have a greater public health impact, every single year, than the Fukushima event did. Not in line with everyone’s (media/propoganda-driven) pre-concieved notions, but the numbers don’t lie. Experts agree that no measurable public health impact will result from Fukushima, while it’s known that Japan’s fossil fuel plants cause thousands of deaths, annually.