Monday, 8 August 2011

Japan’s prime minister wants a future without nuclear power

Japan’s prime minster, using the occasion of Friday’s anniversary of the Hiroshima atomic bomb dropped by the United States, has pledged a nuclear free future for his country – making it a fourth nation to turn it’s back on atomic energy in the wake of Fukushima Daiichi.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan was the first highly placed Japanese official to speak publicly in explicitly anti-nuclear terms.

Addressing those gathered to commemorate the 66th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Kan said the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which was rocked by an earthquake and tsunami on March 11, means Japan must turn to other energy sources.

"The large-scale, long-running nuclear accident has triggered radiation leakage, causing serious concerns not only in Japan but also in the world," said Kan at a memorial ceremony in Hiroshima's Peace Park, as quoted by Agency France Presse.

"I will reduce Japan's reliance on nuclear power, aiming at creating a society that will not rely on atomic power generation," he added.

Kan, a one time environmental activist, promised to boost alternative energy sources to 20 per cent of the nation's energy mix by the 2020s. They currently make up about nine per cent, most of it hydroelectric power – and another 20 percent is accounted for by nuclear power.