Japan’s new prime minister Yoshihiko Noda has pledged to come up with a new energy policy by next summer to reduce the country’s dependence on nuclear.

He said it was “unproductive to perceive energy policy as a confrontation between those who call for a move away from nuclear energy and those who promote nuclear energy”.

He also indicated he would allow a resumption of operations at nuclear reactors that were shut down for inspections following Fukishima, as long as the safety of the reactors has been confirmed.

In his first policy speech, Noda referred to the resignation last week of Yoshio Hachiro as industry minister for making insensitive remarks about the crisis at the Fukushima No.1 plant.

“It is extremely regrettable that a cabinet minister had to resign for inappropriate remarks that lacked consideration for the emotions of the disaster victims,” the prime minister said. “In order to regain the trust that has been lost, the cabinet will work as one to bring the nuclear accident to a conclusion as well as to provide assistance to the disaster victims.”

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