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Japan Isn’t Going Nuclear Free After All

The government responds to business community pressure by shelving a plan announced last week.
September 19, 2012

Last week the Japanese government unveiled a plan that would wean the country off of nuclear power by the 2030s, seeming to echo similar efforts in Germany. (See, “The Great German Energy Experiment.”) The plan came in response to the disaster at the Fukushima power plant last year. Eliminated nuclear would have been difficult–Japan relied on it for a third of its power before the disaster–and would almost certainly have increased the country’s reliance on imported fossil fuels. Now the government is backtracking, saying only that it would consider the tentative nuclear-free plan as it puts together a long-term energy strategy for the country, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The article said that one of the biggest reasons for the reversal was pressure from the business community:

[T]he plan has met fierce opposition from the business lobby, which argues that going nuclear-free would lead to higher electricity fees and unstable power supply, hindering economic activity.

“The business community absolutely cannot accept this strategy,” Hiromasa Yonekura, the chairman of Keidanren, Japan’s largest business lobby, said on Tuesday.

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