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4 June, 2021

Support Grows Within LDP for Nuclear Power

Support for nuclear power is becoming increasingly open within Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) as a means toward “decarbonization” as advocated by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

On May 25, a draft proposal was formulated on the next Strategic Energy Plan at a joint conference of the LDP’s Economy, Trade and Industry Division and its Research Commission on Comprehensive Energy Strategy. Research Commission Chair Fukushiro Nukaga, a former finance minister, stressed that nuclear energy must be utilized in order to realize carbon neutrality.

Together with the introduction of renewable energies to the maximum possible extent, the proposal includes a “correction” of the forty-year restriction on reactor operating lifetimes and a thorough implementation of “3E+S” (the conventional three E’s of energy security, economic efficiency and environmental protection, along with safety).

Chief Secretary Daishiro Yamagiwa of the joint conference said that construction of new and replacement reactors would remain part of the LDP’s proposal, as they, too, would be necessary to achieve carbon neutrality.

The party’s Parliamentary Association for Promotion of Replacement Advanced Reactors also calls on the government to include the construction of new nuclear reactors in the plan—something on which the government has thus far been noncommittal. Toward 2030, the association intends to ask for a recommitment to nuclear facilities.

The association’s chair is Tomomi Inada, who formerly chaired the Policy Research Council. Shinzo Abe, the former prime minister, is an advisor to the association.

The government is expected to release a draft of the next Strategic Energy Plan as early as this month.

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