National / Politics

Ditch reactors, don't focus on Olympics: Hosokawa quote

by Kazuaki Nagata

Staff Writer

Japan should have declined hosting the 2020 Olympics because the country has to focus on what to do about nuclear power, former Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa, who is set to run for Tokyo governor, says in a recently published book.

Hosokawa was interviewed for “Ikegami Akira ga Yomu Koizumi Motoshusho no Genpatsu Zero Sengen” (“Akira Ikegami Reads Former Prime Minister Koizumi’s Zero Nuclear Power Declaration)” and stresses the importance of pulling the plug on nuclear power.

“Rather than winning many gold medals in the Olympics, taking care of what to do with nuclear power now in this time is much more important for Japan’s future,” Hosokawa says in the book, which came out in late December.

“If Japan had declined to host the Olympics even though it won the bid, (the world) would have reached the conclusion that ‘Japan is an amazing country.’ I wanted (Prime Minister) Abe to decide so. That’s the kind of leadership a prime minister can show,” he is quoted as saying.

He criticized Shinzo Abe for telling the international community that the radioactive water leaks at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 plant were “under control” during the final Olympic-bid presentation.

Hosokawa declared this week that he will run in the Feb. 9 gubernatorial election and said he has gained the support of Junichiro Koizumi, who also wants to shut down every reactor in Japan.

In the book, Hosokawa is quoted as saying he did not doubt the use of nuclear power during his nine months as prime minister from August 1993. He says he began to change his mind in 2005 when he learned of radioactive contamination in England due to a leak at the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing facility.

Then with the Fukushima crisis, he concluded that the use of nuclear power must end immediately, he says.

Hosokawa said Thursday that he was putting off his news conference to officially announce his candidacy from Friday to Monday or later.

He said his campaign pledges are still not ready. He had initially planned to hold the news conference Friday and then rescheduled it for next week or later.