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POLITICS

Ruling, opposition parties differ on nuclear energy policy

  • 2016-03-11 15:00:00
  • , Tokyo Shimbun
  • Translation

(Tokyo Shimbun: March 11, 2016 – p. 6)

 

 By Katsumi Sekiguchi

 

 The accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant heightened public awareness of nuclear energy policy. While the Abe administration promotes nuclear plants, most opposition parties aim at eliminating them. Following is a comparison of the policies of each party.

 

 There are currently 11 certified political parties, 8 of them participated in the House of Representatives election of December 2014, with some of them campaigning on policies on nuclear plants.

 

 The Liberal Democratic Party indicated in its campaign pledges the continuous utilization of nuclear plants as a baseload energy source for the stable supply of electricity.

 

 Komeito accepted the utilization of nuclear plants for now, aiming at zero nuclear plants in the future.

 

 In July 2015, the Abe administration set the ratio of nuclear energy in the overall energy mix at 20-22% by 2030, which means the Komeito’s goal of zero nuclear plants has become more remote.

 

 Meanwhile, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), which advocated zero nuclear plants by the 2030s in the last Lower House election, put forth the goal of terminating the operation of all nuclear plants by the 2030s in the political platform of the new party it is forming through merger with the Japan Innovation Party (JIP) announced on Mar. 8.

 

 On the other hand, while the JIP opted for the “fade out” of nuclear plants and did not specify a timetable for their elimination in the Lower House election, it is complying with the DPJ’s policy in the new party.

 

 The Initiatives from Osaka [Osaka Ishin no Kai], which broke off from the JIP, has no official policy on nuclear plants, but Secretary General Nobuyuki Baba stated at a news conference on Mar. 8 that it will adhere to the “fade out” policy. He explained that the party accepts the reactivation of nuclear plants meeting the new safety standards but is opposed to building new ones.

 

 Most of the other opposition parties are in favor of eliminating nuclear plants.

 

 The Japanese Communist Party advocates getting rid of them immediately. The People’s Life Party and the Social Democratic Party oppose reactivation of nuclear plants and building new ones. New Renaissance Party also asserts that nuclear plants are unnecessary in realizing a society where the consumers are producers of electricity. The new party Vision of Reform [Kaikaku Kesshu no Kai] formed last December also favors the promotion of natural energies and aims at eliminating nuclear plants.

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