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Speaker Speaks Out Against Nuclear Power via Wall Street Journal Japan

In the midst of the solemn, scripted memorial marking the anniversary of Japan’s 2011 triple disaster, a discordant note seemed to creep in.

A leading lawmaker used the bully pulpit at the ceremony to call for an end to nuclear power, a rare instance of apparent public dissent by a top ruling party official against the policy of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

“It seems as if we have reaped the benefits of electricity…while letting the people of Fukushima bear the cost,” said Bunmei Ibuki, the speaker of Japan’s lower house of parliament. Mr. Ibuki made his remarks at the National Theater during Tuesday’s memorial to mark the third year since a giant earthquake off the country’s northeast coast triggered a mammoth tsunami that killed nearly 16,000 people, left over 2,500 missing and caused one of the world’s worst nuclear disasters.

Mr. Ibuki, a three-decade veteran lawmaker, has held four cabinet posts and once served as secretary-general of Mr. Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party. His current position in the lower house placed him among the eight official speakers at the event, just after Mr. Abe and the Emperor.

Facing a floral memorial for the disaster’s victims, his back to the audience, Mr. Ibuki lamented how Japan’s admiration of science and technology “gave rise to a sense of arrogance, that humans can control nature.” He ended his brief remarks advocating an energy policy “with a view toward a nuclear phaseout in the future.”

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