Ceremony marks 66th anniversary of atomic bombing: Prime minister stresses need to abandon reliance on nuclear power

by Noritaka Araki and Aya Kano, Staff Writers

Regrets belief in “safety myth”

In his remarks at the Peace Memorial Ceremony in Hiroshima on August 6, Prime Minister Naoto Kan addressed the issue of the nation’s future energy policy in the aftermath of the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 (Daiichi) nuclear power plant stating, “Japan will reduce its level of reliance on nuclear power generation with the aim of becoming a society that is not dependent on nuclear power.”

The prime minister added, “Japan is also working to revise its energy policy from scratch. I deeply regret believing in the ‘safety myth’ of nuclear power.” He expressed his intention to shift the nation’s nuclear policy and end Japan’s reliance on nuclear power but laid out no specific targets with regard to timing or other details.

Prime Minister Kan also stated that he would “firmly maintain the Three Non-Nuclear Principles” which state that Japan shall neither possess nor manufacture nuclear weapons nor permit their introduction into Japanese territory.

At a press conference following the ceremony, the prime minister said with regard to the accident at the nuclear power plant and the atomic bombing, “They both raise concern about the release of radiation. I strongly felt once again the importance of working to create a society in which radiation will not cause problems.”

After being asked last summer by the mayors of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki to have the three non-nuclear principles enshrined into law, the prime minister said that he would give the matter consideration. With regard to this issue, he expressed reservations saying, “As an extremely important policy, the principles are well known both in Japan and abroad and are being fully implemented.”

(Originally published on August 7, 2011)