Two months ago, they said that Japan would phase out nuclear power by the 2030s. Days later, they backtracked in the face of opposition from business lobby. Not even today Japan’s politicians are convinced that the country should quit nuclear power, despite the huge popular support for such a decision.
“The majority of Japanese people are now against nuclear power, but none of the major political parties are listening to them,” says Hisayo Takada, a representative of Greenpeace Japan who campaigns for a change of policy in the field of energy.
So far, only two of Japan’s reactors have been restarted after a complete temporary shutdown of all of its 50 reactors for safety inspections and maintenance. The direction the country will take is unclear, but some analysts expect many other reactors will be reopened in the future.
“I see all of Japan’s reactors, except those that are on fault lines, coming back on line over the next few years,” says Jun Okumura, senior political analyst at the Eurasia Group. “Construction will resume on the two reactors that are in the process of being built.”
Japan’s politicians seem unable or unwilling to take on the huge burden of designing building alternative industry sectors to generate sustainable renewable energy. The options are not very wide for the Japanese electorate, seeing that until now, the only antinuclear platforms have been those of the small Socialist and Communist parties.
Current prime minister Yoshihiko Noda is expected to call on general elections by next September.