• Kyodo


Shiga Gov. Yukiko Kada said Wednesday her new party, once made official, will pledge to phase out nuclear power within 10 years, aiming to make energy a key issue in the Dec. 16 election.

“We’ll abolish nuclear power plants as soon as possible. My proposal is we’ll do so by 2022,” said Kada, who plans to field around 100 candidates in the poll.

Kada suggested her Nippon Mirai no To (Japan Future Party), which has agreed to merge with the party headed by Ichiro Ozawa and his 48 Lower House members, as well as other small parties, will promise to immediately shut down the Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor.

While the ruling Democratic Party of Japan has pledged to phase out reactors by the 2030s, the Liberal Democratic Party’s stance is it will decide within three years whether to restart all of those now idled nationwide.

Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party), recently founded by Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, ended its goal of reducing Japan’s nuclear dependency to zero after it absorbed the party formed earlier this month by ex-Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, an advocate of atomic energy. Ishihara was put at Nippon Ishin’s helm.

Kada is apparently trying to confront the major parties by vowing to swiftly abandon nuclear plants, but criticism is growing that her target is impossible.

“I don’t know how realistically she thinks” the policy of phasing out nuclear energy is, DPJ policy chief Goshi Hosono told reporters.

Besides Kokumin no Seikatsu ga Daiichi (People’s Life First), led by former DPJ head Ozawa, also joining forces with Kada will be a small party led by Nagoya Mayor Takashi Kawamura and veteran lawmaker Shizuka Kamei, as well as three Lower House members of the new Midori no Kaze (Green Wind) party.

Kada’s party could end up boasting more than 60 veteran Lower House lawmakers, all seeking to end nuclear power.

The poll is shaping up as a four-way battle between the DPJ, the LDP, Nippon Ishin and Kada’s party. But Kada and her allies have yet to set policies other than phasing out nuclear power, raising criticism from the other parties that her group is an alliance of convenience for the election.

Campaigning starts Tuesday.

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