Japanese business circles dismiss government no-nukes goal

September 15, 2012

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

Business circles in Japan have lambasted the government's new energy policy, released Sept. 14, which pledges to shut down all nuclear power plants by the 2030s.

"Some enterprises may consider leaving Japan," Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) Chairman Hiromasa Yonekura told reporters on Sept. 14.

He said zero nuclear power could result in higher electricity costs and would be a burden for corporate management, while the policy could also spark concerns about the reliability of the electricity supply, which in turn might negatively impact production.

The Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry condemned the government decision.

"It is the last thing I could approve of," said Tadashi Okamura, its chairman. "I have no choice but to oppose it."

Yonekura and Okamura plan to hold a joint news conference on Sept. 18 at which they will call for a review of the decision.

When Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda decided to raise the consumption tax rate, a move which became law in August, business circles were strongly supportive. This time, however, the reaction is different.

"Unfortunately, I was disappointed," said Yasuchika Hasegawa, chairman of Keizai Doyukai (Japan Association of Corporate Executives). He addressed the decision at a hastily-convened news conference on Sept. 14.

"I must say it is very regrettable," Hasegawa said.

Katsuaki Watanabe, senior adviser at Toyota Motor Corp., characterized the discussions leading up to the government decision as rough and sloppy.

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
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Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) Chairman Hiromasa Yonekura (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) Chairman Hiromasa Yonekura (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

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  • Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) Chairman Hiromasa Yonekura (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

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