TOKYO – Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi urged Japan on Wednesday to completely eliminate the use of nuclear energy in the country.
The former prime minister, one of the country’s most popular and charismatic leaders who headed the Japanese government between 2001-2006, said that those in favor of nuclear energy were putting their own interests ahead of the environment and safety of people while speaking at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan.
Koizumi, an indefatigable champion of denuclearization, said that with a supply percentage of between 0-2 percent, Japan’s dependence on nuclear energy was over-exaggerated.
Koizumi’s statement comes four days ahead of the seventh anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear accident, caused by an earthquake and a tsunami on March 11, 2011, which killed around 20,000 people.
After the nuclear accident, considered the worst in history after Chernobyl (Ukraine) in 1986, the production of nuclear energy fell to its bare minimum, and was halted completely in 2013.
Since then, the Japanese government has been advocating renewed development of nuclear energy, much to the dismay of local organizations such as Genjiren, where Koizumi is an advisor.
According to Koizumi, denuclearization is not possible under the government led by his successor and current prime minister, Shinzo Abe, although the fallouts of the Fukushima disaster were still visible, including those who have remained displaced following the nuclear accident.
The former PM called the Fukushima disaster a human error caused by inadequate safety measures and added that such errors were unacceptable in the nuclear industry.
The Fukushima accident cost the public exchequer an estimated 20 trillion yen ($189.86 billion).