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Japan to revise energy policy

The Fukushima nuclear
explosion, triggered
by the earthquake
and tsunami that
struck the country
in March this year
Tokyo, Japan — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 13 October 2011 – The Japanese government has formed an energy panel to revise the country’s energy policy.

“The panel, created under the energy advisory committee of the Industry Ministry, will probe the road Japan will take over the next 100 or 200 years,” said new Trade Minister Yukio Edano during the group’s first meeting.

Under Japan’s previous energy plan “’ prior to the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster “’ nuclear power had been set to meet more than half of demand by 2030, up from about one-third.

Headed by Nippon Steel Corp. chairman Akio Mimura, the panel plans to devise a new energy plan for the resource-poor nation as early as next summer. Nearly half of its 25 members oppose nuclear power generation.

Edano urged the panel to thoroughly explore the nation’s future energy policy and not feel constrained by the current energy situation, saying, “Since the Fukushima accident, citizens’ opinions and their trust of nuclear power have changed substantially.”

Mitsui Co. chairman Shoei Utsuda, also a member of the panel, called for deliberate discussions on nuclear power from a global perspective. “I think it will be important for Japan to keep contributing to the world by improving nuclear technologies, from the standpoint of the nation’s energy policy and its diplomatic strategy,” Utsuda said.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda reiterated last week that it would be difficult to build any new reactors in the country. He has said that while his administration aims to restart nuclear plants that are now closed for maintenance or repairs once their safety is assured, the future of the facilities is still uncertain.

Only 12 of Japan’s 54 commercial power plant reactors are in operation.