The shutting down of No. 4 reactor at Kansai Electric Power Co.'s Oi nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture in the early hours of Sept. 16 for a regular inspection means that all of Japan's nuclear power generation reactors are now offline. This is the second time that Japan has been in a "no-nuclear" situation, following the one that lasted for about two months from early May 2012 in the wake of the 3/11 disasters.

After the Nuclear Regulation Authority's approval of new safety standards for reactors on June 19, four power companies have applied for safety examinations of 12 reactors with a view to restarting them. The NRA is currently carrying out the examinations. But the ongoing disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant shows that nuclear power is extremely difficult to handle and inherently dangerous. The government should work out a policy as soon as possible that shows a timeline for ending Japan's reliance on nuclear power generation.

There currently exists no established technology to safely store high-level radioactive waste from nuclear power plants for long periods of time. It is impossible for any scientist to predict what will happen to materials encasing such radioactive waste, which would be buried in geographic layers below the Earth's surface, in 100 years later, 1,000 years or 10,000 years or longer. It takes tens of thousands years for the radiation emitted by high-level nuclear waste to drop to safe levels. It is environmentally dangerous to store such waste on a semipermanent basis and unethical to leave the problematic management of highly radioactive waste to future generations.