Japan’s new Prime Minister, Yoshihiko Kishida, defends Japan’s pro-nuclear attitude

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Japan’s new Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, defended his pro-nuclear energy policies, saying it was critical to restarting nuclear power facilities idle since the Fukushima accident in 2011.
Energy was a major topic in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) recent leadership election, in which Mr Kishida defeated Mr Taro Kono, a former vaccine minister who had spoken out against nuclear power, to become Prime Minister.
“Restarting nuclear power plants is critical,” Mr Kishida said in Parliament for the first time since taking over as Prime Minister last week. Mr Kishida was replying to queries from Mr Yukio Edano, the head of the major opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ), on the government’s energy programme and whether nuclear power will be included.
Nuclear energy has been controversial in Japan, particularly after a tsunami generated by an earthquake off the coast in 2011 slammed into a nuclear power plant in the Fukushima area north of Tokyo, resulting in one of the world’s worst nuclear disasters.
Following the catastrophe, all of Japan’s nuclear power reactors were shut down, highlighting regulatory and oversight failures. While some reactors have reopened, the majority have remained closed. Mr Kishida is heading the LDP into a general election on Oct. 31, with many voters’ top objectives likely to be ending the coronavirus outbreak and reviving the country’s ailing economy.
Many of Japan’s hospitals have struggled to cope with the coronavirus’s fifth and most deadly wave, though infection rates have begun to decline in recent days. After criticism from Mr Edano, who said: “It is the responsibility of the LDP that so many people died in their homes,” Mr Kishida said there was space for reform in healthcare.

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