With government elections looming in he next few weeks, and amidst strong public negativity towards nuclear energy, it looks likely that the Japanese government will decide to abandon nuclear power gradually altogether over the next 20 years.

The news comes from government officials close to policy decision making.

Nuclear power plant
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda set up a council to recommend a long-term energy strategy based on three scenarios: phasing out nuclear power completely by 2030, reducing dependence to 15 per cent or keeping it at current levels of about 20to 25 per cent.

All of the scenarios aim to increase the use of renewable energy to at least 20 per cent from the current 10 per cent.

The government is expected to announce a final decision in September, ahead of general elections for parliament expected by the end of the year.

Industry Minister Yukio Edano, who is responsible for the power industry, said this month that he wants to eliminate the use of nuclear power if there is agreement to share the financial burden that would arise from the increased use of more expensive fossil fuels.

Opponents say that zero nuclear suits Germany because it is surrounded by other European countries through whom it can compensate for shortages. They say that Japan’s energy security requires diversity that should include nuclear power.

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