Former prime minister, 76, slowed by poor health

Hosokawa to ease off anti-nuclear schedule

by Mizuho Aoki

Staff Writer

A week after announcing the launch of a group to abolish nuclear power, former Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa has decided to slow the pace of his efforts due to poor health, the group said Thursday.

Hosokawa, 76, launched the Japan Assembly for Nuclear Free Renewable Energy on May 7 with former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and a group of scholars and activists to promote a “zero nuclear” nation.

At the inaugural meeting in Tokyo, however, Hosokawa felt dizzy during his speech and could not clearly read the manuscript, according to Ikko Nakatsuka, who leads the administrative aspects of the council. He also suffered four chipped teeth and a bloody lip in April after taking a tumble at Shinagawa Station in Tokyo, he said.

After the incidents, Hosokawa decided to refrain from making public speeches and TV appearances for a while, but said he will continue other activities, such as attending the group’s meetings and making detailed plans for their activities, Nakatsuka said.

Hosokawa is reportedly scheduled to have a health checkup next week.

“He was really concerned about (the May 7 incident) where his sight was blurred. He didn’t want to trouble others, so he decided slow down his pace,” Nakatsuka said, adding that it will not have any negative impact on their activities.

Hosokawa will continue to act as representative of the assembly, but will resign his posts as the head of Tohoku University of Art and Design and the Kyoto University of Art and Design.

The group has received many requests for Hosokawa to speak, but he won’t be able to respond to any until he gains confidence about his health, Nakatsuka said. The assembly is making a list of about 30 locations in the Kanto region for Koizumi and Hosokawa to inspect, hopefully starting in June.

Nakatsuka said Hosokawa needs some time to recover from the physically grueling Tokyo gubernatorial race in February, in which he and Koizumi teamed up in a call to abolish nuclear power.

After the unsuccessful run, Hosokawa started holding meetings with the group’s members once or twice a week. The retired politician also held a solo art exhibition in Kyoto during Golden Week earlier this month at which he greeted some 30,000 visitors, according to Nakatsuka.

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