3/11 Prime Minister Kan recognized for efforts to phase-out nuclear power

Kyodo

Former Prime Minister Naoto Kan was honored in Germany Saturday for his work to promote the phase-out of atomic power in Japan following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis.

At a ceremony at Frankfurt City Hall, former German Environment Minister Juergen Trittin praised Kan as a “fighter” for his work on nuclear and renewable energy.

Kan, 69, pledged to continue his quest to rid Japan of atomic energy.

“The accident made a 180-degree shift in the perception that Japan’s nuclear power plants are safe,” Kan said in a speech.

Kan received a certificate from a representative of EWS, a power company in Schoenau, southern Germany, on the initiative of citizens against nuclear power.

Kan, who led the former Democratic Party of Japan, was prime minister from June 2010 to September 2011. He was the man who had the misfortune of being in office when the unprecedented March 11, 2011, Great East Japan Earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters struck.

Japan has battled criticism for resuming power generation at a handful of reactors that were taken offline after the Fukushima nuclear crisis. The reactors, which were restarted at the initiative of current Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party, were subjected to stringent new safety standards.

The pro-nuclear Liberal Democratic Party returned to power after being overwhelming defeated by the less-experienced DPJ in 2012 on a mantra of change.