Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said that Japan should immediately pull the plug on nuclear power before it is too late, and left the responsibility at the doorstep of current Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Koizumi told Your Party head Yoshimi Watanabe and other leaders at a dinner that Abe and other officials should demonstrate leadership in ending nuclear power generation.
“I will be dead decades from now and may not be able to see a Japan without nuclear power plants,” the former prime minister was quoted as saying by one of the participants at the event in Tokyo on Sept. 27. “But making it happen is what a true statesman should do.”
Koizumi, 71, who was in office from 2001 and 2006, expressed disappointment that Abe is not steering the nation toward a nuclear-free future. Abe succeeded Koizumi as prime minister in 2006 in his first stint in office, which lasted less than a year, before returning to power in December after his Liberal Democratic Party swept the Lower House election.
“Abe is gathering momentum as a leader,” Koizumi is reported as saying. “Japan will be able to make progress in moving away from nuclear power only once he decides on it. That is unfortunate.”
Koizumi spoke of details of his visit to Finland in August, where he toured the Onkalo repository, the final disposal site for highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel. The facility is expected to store the nuclear waste for 100,000 years until it is neutralized.
Koizumi stressed the importance of ending nuclear power generation in Japan quickly in light of the problem of the final disposal of the spent fuel, referring to the volume generated by Japan’s 50 reactors, compared with Finland’s four.
Koizumi and Watanabe talked for four hours at the dinner. The Your Party leader said he was greatly encouraged by the former prime minister’s views.
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