Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, 72, said Friday he is resolved to whatever fate befalls him now that he has been energized by his life’s mission: staunch opposition to nuclear power.

“Now I’m (chasing) a grand dream to develop Japan without nuclear power, using various natural energies, such as that of the sun, wind and terrestrial heat,” Koizumi told a meeting of business leaders at a Tokyo hotel.

“If I die along the way, I’ll happily die at any time. That’s how I feel now,” he said.

Koizumi, who retired as prime minister in 2006, has recently staged a political comeback as a powerful campaign supporter for Morihiro Hosokawa, a former prime minister who is running for the Feb. 9 Tokyo gubernatorial election on a pledge to abolish nuclear power in Japan.

Koizumi’s voice was hoarse as he stumped three times for Hosokawa earlier the day. But during the seminar organized by the Japan Management Consultants Association, he stood and spoke for 80 minutes without recess, offering many emotional gestures.

“People may think I’m a dotard, but I don’t think I’m that old,” Koizumi joked, evoking laughter.

Koizumi said that right after he resigned as prime minister, he had no motivation to work any further.

But the 2011 quake-tsunami disaster that hit Tohoku and caused the Fukushima meltdown crisis gave him a new anti-nuclear mission and reinvigorated his spirit, Koizumi said.

“Now Japan is facing a critical phase where it could change into a country that is sensitive to environmental (issues) and can coexist with nature,” he said.

“It’s an opportunity to turn a pinch into a chance. Now I feel uplifted because of that” sense of mission, Koizumi said.

“I got old, but young men and women need to live on. Now I feel we should not think only about the benefits of the present day,” Koizumi said.

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