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Analysis: Sticking with nuclear could be costlier Japan option via Reuters

By Linda Sieg

TOKYO | Mon Jul 25, 2011 9:34pm EDT

(Reuters) – Can Japan afford to go nuclear-power-free? The country’s atomic power industry and many big business clients say “No,” arguing the step would boost electricity bills and pollution and hasten the hollowing out of Japanese manufacturing.

But the Fukushima nuclear disaster is galvanizing a coalition of safety-conscious voters and future-minded companies who increasingly believe that Japan cannot afford to stick with the status quo if it wants to be globally competitive.

“Japan has a span of about a year to assert itself as a clear leader in clean energy, storage batteries, solar cells. They can compete, but they are no longer the only guys in the global game,” said Jesper Koll, director of equities research at JP Morgan in Tokyo.

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