Ex-PM Koizumi raps government push for nuclear power as ‘irresponsible’


Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi criticized the government’s push to restart nuclear power generation and urged it to reconsider.

“It is irresponsible to pursue nuclear power when there is no permanent disposal site for radioactive waste,” Koizumi said at a lecture in Nagoya.

The government under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has retracted its predecessor’s goal of phasing out nuclear power and opened the way for the restart of idled reactors.

The former prime minister, who appointed Abe as his chief Cabinet secretary, said that during his time as a Lower House lawmaker, he believed expert opinion that nuclear energy is environmentally friendly and the cheapest source of power.

But the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, and subsequent nuclear crisis, changed his mind. “I started having doubts about whether (nuclear power) is really safe and cheap,” he said.

“Japan can still stand even without nuclear power plants,” Koizumi said, calling on the government and Liberal Democratic Party to take the initiative in pursuing a policy that does not depend on nuclear plants.

Koizumi said that after visiting Germany and seeing the way the country is pursuing renewable energy, he changed his mind and wants Japan to make use of natural energy sources.

Currently, all of Japan’s 50 commercial reactors are offline and have to be checked by the Nuclear Regulation Authority to determine whether they satisfy a set of new safety requirements before they can be restarted.

  • itoshima2012

    Heads up! Koizumi is telling the truth!! No final disposal side means we should not restart. Only the Finns have one, onkalu, japan needs to get this sorted. Only than nuclear is an option and its real price per kilowatt can be calculated, compared and femmes economical or not.

  • Frank Thornton

    Way to go Koizumi-san!! Shake ’em up!!

  • Nida

    Am not sure, but it seems the problem seems not to be lack of disposal place, but the people’s opposition to be ‘the dumping site’ of nuclear waste. Considering that Japan takes public opinion way too much, this is something the govt has to work out.if it wants to continue using nuclear power.

  • http://www.dadsarmy.co.uk/ GMainwaring

    Can you say “pandering”? Last night’s news had interesting insights from someone who had talked to Koizumi at length about his newfound convictions. Koizumi was quite blunt as to his view that it would be quite difficult, today, to build a consensus *for* nuclear power, but quite easy to build a consensus *against* nuclear power, therefore he was throwing his hat into the anti-nuclear power ring.

    He was apparently equally candid about being *pro* nuclear power before because that was the prevailing attitude at that time.

    In other words, he is not a man of his convictions, he’s a pol in search of a legacy to leave. He’s not thinking beyond the end of his own nose. Yes, Japan can stand today without nuclear power – but at what cost? And yes, running nuclear power plants without having a disposal site for the waste is irresponsible. But the responsible thing to do is not to stick your finger in the air and rush to get out in front of the Chicken Little pack. That may be the *easy* thing to do, but that does not make it the *right* thing to do.