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Japan's ruling party opposes zero nuclear policy

Publication Date : 01-07-2013

 

With the exception of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, every party at a weekend meeting in Osaka of the secretaries general and equivalent figures from nine major parties expressed support for ending nuclear power generation in the future.

At the meeting, which was hosted by the Kansai Press Club, they also discussed other issues related to the House of Councillors election scheduled for July 21, including constitutional revision and economic policy.

The LDP and Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) expressed their support for revising the Constitution’s Article 96, which stipulates requirements for initiatives to revise the Constitution, prior to other articles. The other seven parties--New Komeito, the Democratic Party of Japan, Your Party, the Japanese Communist Party, People’s Life Party, the Social Democratic Party and the Green Wind--opposed it.

The party representatives were asked to answer questions by raising boards with a circle (yes) or a cross (no) on them.

Concerning revision of Article 96, the LDP proposes in its upper house election pledges to ease the current revision requirement of “the consent of two-thirds or more of each house” to “the consent of a simple majority in each house”, but the pledges do not mention whether the article should be revised before other articles.

Asked at the meeting whether it should be revised first, LDP Secretary General Shigeru Ishiba held up the board indicating yes. “Apart from the question of whether it needs to be revised first, revision of Article 96 is necessary,” he said.

He added, “We [lawmakers] can propose revision, but only the people have the right to revise [the Constitution]. I don’t think it’s right that the people can’t exercise their right, even if they want to revise the Constitution, because one-third of the members of one house opposes it.”

Ishiba also referred to the possibility that the LDP would join hands with Ishin no Kai to realise the revision.

Meanwhile, his DPJ counterpart Goshi Hosono opposed relaxing the revision requirements, saying, “If you really want to revise [an article], you should try hard enough to convince a two-thirds majority [in both houses].” Komeito Secretary General Yoshihisa Inoue also took a cautious stance. “There hasn’t been enough discussion yet among the general public,” Inoue said.

As for whether to aim for the abolition of nuclear power generation, all parties replied yes except the LDP. The DPJ, for example, clearly stated that no nuclear power plant should be in operation by the end of the 2030s in its upper house election platform. Hosono questioned Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s efforts to promote exports of Japanese nuclear reactors.

“It makes me uncomfortable,” he said, to see the prime minister and other government officials actively promoting exports of Japanese nuclear plants while the crisis continues at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Ishiba, the only participant who opposed eliminating nuclear power generation, said: “We plan to reduce the nation’s dependence on nuclear power plants, but just reducing it won’t vitalise the economy. It’s irresponsible unless we explain how to strengthen the economy to lessen the nation’s dependence [on nuclear power generation].”

He insisted that nuclear power plants are necessary to sustain economic growth.

Asked whether they support Abenomics, the Abe government’s economic policy, all seven opposition parties opposed it while the LDP and Komeito supported it.

Hosono described the recent wild fluctuations of stock prices as “an adverse effect of Abenomics,” and criticised the policy. “Does the roller-coaster market benefit the public?” he said. Your Party Secretary General Kenji Eda demanded more from the government’s growth strategy.

 

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