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2013年7月 1日 (月)

幹事長討論会 安易な「原発ゼロ」は無責任だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun July 1, 2013
Simply calling for end of nuclear power is irresponsible
幹事長討論会 安易な「原発ゼロ」は無責任だ(6月30日付・読売社説)

Full-fledged debates for the House of Councillors election have kicked off before its official campaign period starts on July 4.

In Osaka, the Kansai Press Club hosted a meeting on politics with the secretaries general and their equivalents of nine ruling and opposition parties.

At the meeting, there were striking divergences in opinions on nuclear power plants. Asked if they aim to end the use of nuclear power generation, every attending party except the ruling Liberal Democratic Party replied yes.

To reduce the nation's use of nuclear power to zero, the proportion of electricity generated by alternative sources such as thermal power generation and renewable energy sources such as solar power must be increased drastically. This will require increased imports of fuel for thermal power plants, which will inevitably hollow out domestic industries due to higher production costs.

There also are concerns about the increased carbon dioxide emissions produced by thermal power plants. Japan will be tested on how to overcome global issues, including nuclear nonproliferation, if it chooses the zero nuclear power generation option.

Balance of sources important

Referring to those issues, LDP Secretary General Shigeru Ishiba said at the meeting, “A responsible political party must not consider reducing the nation’s dependence on nuclear power generation without thinking about the balance of its power sources.” We think his view is quite reasonable.

The LDP stipulated in its election pledges that the state should take responsibility for trying to obtain the consent of local governments hosting nuclear power plants, which have been checked and judged safe, so they can be reactivated.

We applaud the LDP on this point, but the party also should clarify the prospects for its medium- to long-term nuclear policies.

Details on specific steps to deal with nuclear fuel recycling and nuclear waste disposal also need to be discussed.

At the meeting, no party supporting the abolition of nuclear power generation gave a detailed and convincing explanation on the denuclearization process. How can Japan, a nation with few natural resources, end its use of nuclear power generation? Parties supporting zero nuclear power generation must answer this question properly.

Exports of nuclear plants

Goshi Hosono, secretary general of the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan, criticized efforts led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to promote exports of Japanese nuclear reactors to other countries. “It makes me feel uncomfortable,” Hosono said.

However, exports of infrastructure, including nuclear reactors, are a pillar of the government’s growth strategy and require partnership between the government and private sectors. What does the DPJ think about the high expectations other nations have for Japanese technology?

In Tokyo, party leaders held a meeting Friday to discuss issues related to the upper house election.

In their discussions, Abe’s remarks on relations between Japan and China, which have been at loggerheads over the Senkaku Islands, attracted considerable attention. “The Chinese side told us it would not agree to have a bilateral summit meeting unless Tokyo accepts a certain condition,” the prime minister revealed.

Of course, there is no need to hold a summit meeting with Beijing if it comes at the expense of Japan’s national interest. However, it is also true that both Japan and China will lose out if they do not improve bilateral ties.

We expect all political parties to also have constructive discussions on diplomatic and national security strategies, and on measures to handle territorial issues.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun,   June 30, 2013)
(2013年6月30日01時29分  読売新聞)


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