July 14(Thursday)

"The next era" (6): Towards a society that does not rely on nuclear power

 

At yesterday's press conference, I indicated my fundamental stance that "we will aim at a society that does not rely on nuclear power.  We will reduce our degree of dependence on nuclear power in stages and in the future realize a society that is able to get along without nuclear power."

 

I also stated candidly at this press conference that, having experienced the earthquake disaster and nuclear accident of March 11, my own way of thinking about nuclear power has changed.  Until then, my view had been one of "utilizing nuclear power while paying adequate attention to safety."  However, the week after the earthquake disaster, as I stayed even overnight at the Prime Minister's Office working to bring the situation under control, was truly a spine-chilling time for me in determining how to keep the nuclear-related damage from spreading.  Once a nuclear accident spreads, as in the current case, it is impossible to avoid wide-scale evacuations and long-term impacts.  In considering the magnitude of the risk of an accident, I came to believe that we should aim to create a society that does not rely on nuclear power.

 

While there have been some doubts concerning my remarks at yesterday's press conference, insofar as a concrete path forward was not clearly set out, in the comments submitted through the Prime Minister's Office's website, on Twitter, and elsewhere, I have been receiving a great response supporting my remarks.  I consider it important to first of all set forth a clear direction in this way, and in the future it will be necessary to have fully-fledged discussions on the concrete path forward.

 

Discussions finally began today at the Diet on the Bill to Promote Renewable Energies, an important first step in this "concrete path forward."  I am strongly determined to bring this bill into enactment.  In addition, with regard to a long-term course further into the future, the Energy and Environment Council was already launched at the end of June.  Chaired by the Minister for National Policy, this Council seeks to formulate innovative energy strategies.

 

Furthermore, today Minister for National Policy Koichiro Gemba stated during questioning at the Diet that the Energy and Environment Council will put forth its views on "stability in electrical supply and demand in the near future," at roughly the end of this month.

 

How shall we transition smoothly to this "next era" in which we can get along without nuclear power?  The work that will bring this into concrete form is now moving ahead, one step at a time.



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