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Japan’s new environment minister wants to ‘scrap nuclear power plants’

Japan’s new environment minister wants to ‘scrap nuclear power plants’

Japan’s newly appointed environment minister, Shinjiro Koizumi, has said he wants to “scrap” nuclear power plants, warning of the need to avoid a repeat of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. The comments from the rising political star and son of former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi are his first on the controversial issue since he was named in a cabinet reshuffle on Wednesday.

He appears to echo his father’s post-Fukushima anti-nuclear stance, AFP said. “I would like to think about how we can scrap it, not how to retain it,” he told reporters when asked about the government’s plans for nuclear power. “We'll be finished if we let [a nuclear accident] occur twice in one country,” the minister added.

However, the statements are not expected to have any immediate impact on the government’s already-stated position of moving slowly away from dependence on nuclear energy, a task complicated by Japan's considerable reliance on coal.

The most recent plan envisages nuclear power supplying around 20-22 percent of energy needs for the country as late as 2030.