Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's call for a "zero nuclear" Japan is sharply dividing top executives of the ruling camp.
Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's call for a "zero nuclear" Japan is sharply dividing top executives of the ruling camp. Koizumi called for an immediate end to nuclear power and urged Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to adopt a zero-nuclear policy during a news conference at the Japan National Press Club on Nov. 12. While Shigeru Ishiba, secretary-general of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), and other senior lawmakers express understanding for Koizumi's call in light of his popularity, proponents of nuclear power are reacting sharply against the former PM's comments. Still others suggest that the government should simply ignore Koizumi's anti-atomic advocacy and wait for the zero-nuclear movement to fade. Abe says his government and party will reduce the proportion of nuclear power generation in Japan's energy mix and explore ways to maintain a certain number of nuclear power plants. Repercussions from the split within the LDP family remain enormous, however. Members of the LDP caucus promoting nuclear energy as a stable source of power invited experts to a Nov. 14 hearing on the nuclear fuel cycle. Meanwhile, acting LDP Secretary-General Hiroyuki Hosoda, who chairs the caucus, warned that heavy dependence on coal and thermal power generation will cause greater burdens on humankind than nuclear power. Hosoda, who served as chief Cabinet secretary under the Koizumi administration, is at the forefront of the anti-Koizumi campaign. But Ishiba, citing the current policy to reduce the nuclear power ratio, points out that there is no difference between the LDP and Koizumi. ''If Japan can achieve zero nuclear power, that would be much better,'' he says.