The Abe administration's May 27 nomination of two new commissioners of the Nuclear Regulation Authority could cast a cloud over the nuclear watchdog's credibility since one of them, Satoru Tanaka, is a nuclear energy proponent with close ties with the community of industries, bureaucracy and academia that has promoted nuclear power generation in this country. Lawmakers must scrutinize his nomination when it reaches the Diet floor to determine if he is capable of objectively carrying out his duties.

To replace two NRA commissioners whose terms end in September — Kunihiko Shimazaki, a seismologist who served as head of the Seismological Society of Japan, and Kenzo Oshima, a former ambassador to the United Nations — the administration nominated Tanaka, a professor of the University of Tokyo who specializes in the nuclear fuel cycle and treatment of nuclear waste, and Akira Ishiwatari, a professor of geology at Tohoku University who served as head of the Geological Society of Japan.

It's not difficult to discern the intentions of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, government bureaucrats and Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers who want to restart idled nuclear power plants behind the decision to not renew the tenure of Shimazaki and instead seek to appoint Tanaka.