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16 March, 2020

Keidanren Chairman Nakanishi Emphasizes Need for Nuclear Discussions from a Broad Energy Point of View

At a regular press briefing on March 9, Chairman Hiroaki Nakanishi of the Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) emphasized the need to consider nuclear technology from a broad point of view, saying, “Energy is essential for the survival and prosperity of humanity. Now that climate change problems are becoming very serious, we will have to discuss again our use of nuclear energy.”

He was replying to a question about prospects for restarting nuclear power plants (NPPs) in eastern Japan, specifically in the context of the Onagawa-2, owned and operated by the Tohoku Electric Power Co.. The plant cleared its examination for compatibility with the new regulatory standards on February 26, receiving permission to make changes in the reactor installation (basic design approval). On restarting NPPs, however, the chairman said that it was becoming “very difficult” to obtain the understanding of local municipalities.

Chairman Nakanishi serves as a member of the Council on Investments for the Future, which helps shape the Japanese government’s growth strategy. At a meeting of the council on March 5, he expressed his opinion that “long-term, global issues on energy and Japan’s responses will have to be considered by the entire government.”

The council decided to form a new body to address the fundamental direction of energy strategy. At a press conference after a Cabinet meeting on March 6, Yasutoshi Nishimura, Minister of State for Economic and Fiscal Policy, explained that the new body would “seek to develop a careful, muscular vision from a broad long-term perspective.”

With its name and a schedule yet to be decided, the body will advance discussions in cooperation with the Advisory Committee for Natural Resources and Energy, and ask the ministers of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Ministry of the Environment to attend as needed.

 

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