In a shocking reversal, the Cabinet on Wednesday failed to approve the government’s new energy policy by watering down its main goal — the elimination of Japan’s reliance on nuclear energy by the 2030s — in a document needed to confirm the full power of its endorsement.
The document that the Cabinet signed off on stirred speculation that it gave special consideration to big business and governments that benefit from hosting nuclear facilities, the main entities opposed to the zero option.
But Japan Association of Corporate Executives Chairman Yasuchika Hasegawa, who was in attendance, requested that the council scrap the plan to abandon nuclear power, saying it was strange.
Nobuaki Koga, president of the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo), also questioned the strategy.
Internal affairs minister Tatsuo Kawabata said the government still needed to explain the principle behind the strategy.
The government, however, claimed Wednesday that it was still sticking to the new policy, with trade minister Yukio Edano telling a news conference that its full content was “authorized” by the Cabinet because the decision says the government will take actions “based on” the strategy.
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