SAN DIEGO--If he could turn the clock back, Naoto Kan says he would never have promoted the export of Japanese nuclear plant technology.
Kan, whose tenure as prime minister was defined by his handling of the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters, professed embarrassment June 4 at having pushed the policy prior to the reactor meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
Kan, of the Democratic Party of Japan, made his comments at a gathering organized by a U.S. citizens group. The event was the first time Kan had spoken about the experience to an overseas audience.
"Before March 11, I asked nations to import the technology because I felt nuclear plants were safe," Kan said. "I am now embarrassed for having done so."
As prime minister, Kan was involved in efforts to export nuclear plant technology to India, Turkey and Vietnam.
"Before March 11, I was in favor of the safe usage of nuclear plants, but my thinking has changed 180 degrees after March 11," he said.
The government now led by the Liberal Democratic Party continues to push the export of nuclear plant technology as part of its economic growth strategy.
Kan said regarding that policy, "When we think about the future of those nations (targeted for the exports), the better option would be to introduce renewable energy sources."
Kan also revealed that he had received an invitation to speak in Taiwan where public opinion is split over a nuclear plant now under construction.
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