Prime Minister Naoto Kan on July 13 laid out his vision to build a society without nuclear power plants by gradually moving away from reliance on this energy source.
"I came to believe we should aim for a society that does not depend on nuclear power," Kan said in a televised news conference from his official residence. "We can phase out the dependence on nuclear power plants and achieve a society that can work without nuclear power plants."
But Kan did not spell out any specifics for his vision, such as a timetable and how many nuclear power plants should be decommissioned by when.
Referring to the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, the prime minister said, "When I think of the enormous risks of a nuclear accident, I am convinced that (nuclear power) is the technology that cannot be controlled by the conventional idea to ensure safety alone."
Kan said that what type of energy source the Japanese public chooses to meet its growing demands for power is a big political question.
Asked if he may dissolve the Lower House to call for a snap election on the issue, he denied the possibility.
"I am not considering the dissolution (of the Lower House) over this issue," he said.
He also said that it is the government's responsibility to ensure the nation's power supply will meet the needs of the public and industries.
As for the balance between power demand and supply, in light of the sweltering summer heat and loss of power from the Fukushima No. 1 plant and other nuclear plants, Kan said that Japan is well-equipped to handle the shortfall through conservation efforts and in-house power generation during the peak summer demand.
He said that the government is working on a supply plan for the coming months.
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