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Saturday, Sep. 8, 2012

As Diet session ends, 13 lawmakers submit bill to end nuclear power by 2025


Staff writer

At the urging of an antinuclear civic group, 13 lawmakers jointly submitted a bill Friday, a day before the Diet session ends, to oblige the government to end the use of nuclear power by the end of March 2025.

Under the Atomic Energy Act, the nation increased its dependence on nuclear power. Thus to shift from that legal framework, "there are no other choices but to create a law to abolish the use of nuclear power," said Hiroyuki Kawai, a lawyer who has handled lawsuits against atomic plants.

Along with Kawai, noted antinuclear figures, including Nobel literature laureate Kenzaburo Oe and world renowned musician Ryuichi Sakamoto, founded a group last month to urge politicians to draft and enact a bill to end nuclear power in Japan.

The 13 opposition lawmakers from five Diet groups managed to submit the bill at the last minute of the current session. They said the bill will be carried over to the next session expected to convene this fall.

The civic group said this is the first time a bill to end the use of nuclear power was submitted to the Diet.

"This really is a citizen-lawmaker-initiated bill," Kawai told a news conference after the politicians submitted the bill in the morning.

The bill states that the Fukushima No. 1 plant meltdown crisis taught Japan that atomic power plants pose a great risk of calamity and produce radioactive waste that must be monitored and contained for thousands of years. Thus, Japan "has a responsibility to clearly take a stance toward the abolition of nuclear power," the bill states.

It also calls for swift government measures to mitigate the impact of abolishing nuclear power, including steps to ensure electricity rates don't soar and to hold down the costs of thermal power and to ensure municipalities that hosted nuclear plants don't suffer economic collapse.

The lawmakers who submitted the bill include Kenji Yamaoka, acting president of Kokumin no Seikatsu ga Daiichi (People's Life First); Yasumasa Shigeno, secretary general of the Social Democratic Party; and Kenko Matsuki, secretary general of New Party Daichi.

Dozens of politicians other than the 13 who submitted the bill have expressed support for the legislation, the civic group said. Those supporters include members of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, it said.



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The Japan Times

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