Although he has been criticized for flip-flopping on his energy policy, industry minister Yukio Edano now said Japan is moving to eliminate nuclear power with a target date in mind.
“We are working to cut reliance on nuclear power to zero in 40 years, in principle, at the latest,” Edano told reporters on April 21 after he appeared on a TV Tokyo Corp. program in which he referred to a government-sponsored bill that basically limits the life of a nuclear reactor to 40 years.
He said that a consensus has been reached that no new reactors, except for those currently under construction, will be built in Japan under present circumstances. Edano, minister of economy, trade and industry, has been criticized for often reversing his stance on nuclear power.
While it is still not clear if Japan will be nuclear free in 40 years, since the bill allows exemptions, his comments suggested that the nation in the long run is moving away from nuclear power as a major energy source.
Edano said in the TV program that he is opposed to compulsory measures to save energy such as last year’s rolling blackouts in Tokyo and the surrounding region, served by Tokyo Electric Power Co., and the edict requiring major consumers to cut their electricity use by 15 percent during the summer.
Instead, he called for the utmost efforts by businesses and the public to voluntarily save energy this summer to weather a possible power shortage that has been forecast by the government.
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