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Japan PM contender says ditch nuclear via Financial Times

By Mure Dickie and Tom O’Sullivan in Tokyo

A leading contender to replace Naoto Kan as Japan’s prime minister has called for the country to phase out nuclear power over the next two decades.

Seiji Maehara, one of the most popular figures in the ruling Democratic party, told the Financial Times in an interview that construction of new nuclear reactors should “basically be stopped” following the crisis at the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi atomic plant.
Mr Maehara’s comments – seen as a strong candidate to succeed Mr Kan – will fuel expectations that the nuclear crisis will prompt sweeping changes in Japan’s energy policy.

The Mainichi newspaper reported that Yoshito Sengoku, chief cabinet secretary, was backing a confidential plan to separate the electricity generation and distribution arms of Tokyo Electric Power, Fukushima’s operator, and nationalise its nuclear assets.

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