Exiting nuclear power in Japan is unrealistic, the country’s new industry minister said on Thursday, in comments that reiterated the government’s line but are at odds with those made earlier by another newly installed cabinet member.
The conflicting comments by cabinet members appointed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday highlight the abiding sensitivities of nuclear power in Japan, more than eight years after the Fukushima catastrophe caused mass evacuations and Japan’s worst energy crisis in the modern era.
“There are risks and fears about nuclear power,” industry minister, Isshu Sugawara, told reporters a day after his appointment in a cabinet reshuffle.
“But ‘zero-nukes’ is, at the moment and in the future, not realistic,” he added.
The comments by Sugawara, himself once an anti-nuclear advocate, were at odds with those made by new environment minister, Shinjiro Koizumi, who said earlier that Japan should look at ways to exit nuclear power to avoid repeating the March 2011 Fukushima disaster.