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Japan plans end to nuclear, but public still at risk

Japan plans end to nuclear, but public still at risk for 18 more years

Tokyo, September 14, 2012 – Greenpeace Japan today cautiously welcomed the Japanese government’s landmark new ‘energy and environment strategy’ of zero nuclear reactors in the 2030s, but warned that 18 years is still too long to keep the country's nuclear plants online and the public's safety at threat.

Decisive action is essential and the strategy is a long-overdue recognition that nuclear power is neither needed nor wanted in Japan. It follows relentless protests by the Japanese public against nuclear energy following the Fukushima disaster.

Still, Greenpeace Japan cautioned that while the announcement was moderately ambitious, the government and energy utilities must make every effort to rapidly phase out nuclear power and deploy renewable solutions to avoid future disasters.

“The government’s strategy involves a nuclear phase-out nearly two decades later than needed, It also provides clarity for the business community that renewable power, not nuclear, is the future,” said Kazue Suzuki, Greenpeace Japan nuclear campaigner.

“The government must use its new energy strategy as a starting point for a far more ambitious renewable policy, greater energy efficiency measures, and increasingly bold strides towards the sustainable green economy that will secure Japan’s future prosperity.”

Greenpeace demonstrated in its Energy [R]evolution scenario that Japan can support an economic recovery while meeting its 2020 obligations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions without restarting any of its nuclear plants taken offline after the Fukushima disaster.

The government’s Feed in Tariff (FiT) is already demonstrating strong results. On July 1, after just one month of operation, 560MW or 20% of the government’s total aim for nine-months was achieved, showing that right legislation is already kick-starting a renewable energy boom.

“For too long Japan’s leaders have ignored their people and gambled the health, safety and economic stability of every citizen on nuclear power, and as the people of Fukushima continue to suffer, so does the rest of our country,” said Suzuki. “This announcement must become law, otherwise it will be seen as nothing but lip service to buy votes before the coming election.”

“A nuclear-free future is not a choice, it’s an inevitability. This energy strategy provides Japan's first real step in eliminating nuclear risks forever, and it will send a message to other countries that it is time to end the use of this dangerous technology once and for all,” Suzuki added.

Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organisation that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment, and to promote peace.

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