Ex-PMs unveil plan for zero-nuclear plant bill

Ex-PMs unveil plan for zero-nuclear plant bill

Two former Japanese prime ministers have jointly unveiled a plan for legislation to immediately scrap all nuclear power plants in the country, and to completely shift to renewable energy sources by 2050.

Former prime ministers Junichiro Koizumi and Morihiro Hosokawa serve as advisors for a private group that advocates "zero nuclear plants" and promotes renewable energy.

The plan drawn up by the group says the 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant exposed the risks of nuclear power generation, and the excessive burden placed on the public.

Koizumi told a news conference on Wednesday that it might not be possible to scrap nuclear plants under the current administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, but that he is certain it will happen in the near future.

Koizumi said his group is willing to cooperate with any political party devoted to shutting down nuclear plants and promoting renewable energy. He said the public will become aware of the debate if it is discussed in the Diet.

Koizumi added he will call on parties to cooperate in filing such a bill for Diet deliberations.

Members of the group later met officials of political parties to explain their plan.

The opposition Constitutional Democratic Party outlined its own policy for coming up with a zero nuclear bill by the end of this month, and said it will take the group's ideas into consideration.

In response, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a separate news conference that the government will continue efforts to save energy, encourage the introduction of renewable energy as much as possible, and minimize the country's reliance on nuclear power.

He stressed that safety remains a priority, and that there is no change in the government's policy to put back online only reactors that have been confirmed safe by the Nuclear Regulation Authority, while gaining understanding of local communities.