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LDP secretary-general cites Japan’s role as a non-nuclear model despite limitations via The Mainichi

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Q: How do you see the LDP’s responsibility?

A: There is no doubt that we promoted nuclear power plants. Nuclear power engineers have never said that nuclear power is totally safe, but I doubt if politicians shared that view. There are many things that we can reflect on. What are we going to do if a plane crashes into a nuclear power plant or a terrorist attack occurs against one? I did not fully think about those possibilities while I was defense agency director general and defense minister. When it comes to nuclear power, we should not say, ”Beyond the scope of assumption,” but should consider every possibility.

Q: Is there any change in your views from immediately after the outbreak of the nuclear disaster and now?

A: There is no change. We are not in a position to activate nuclear power plants at any cost at all. We will reactivate nuclear power plants if they meet high-level safety standards and local residents develop a sense of safety.

Q: Is nuclear power necessary from a standpoint of potential nuclear deterrence?

A: Our logic is not that Japan should have nuclear power plants as a potential nuclear deterrence. We think nuclear power is important as a form of self-sufficient energy. Nuclear energy and the military are two sides of the same coin. I think there is no choice for Japan to be the only country without that option. By showing our deep insight that nuclear power can be used for peaceful means it may put the brakes on the proliferation of nuclear arms.

The Japanese government’s view is that possessing nuclear weapons is not banned under the Constitution. I do not totally reject debate on the issue of Japan having nuclear arms, but I do not necessarily agree with such debate. If Japan has nuclear weapons, North Korea can have them and South Korea can have them, leading to a collapse of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT). But the prospect that Japan is capable of possessing nuclear weapons is significant. Japan plays a key role in the world by demonstrating the fact that it can have nuclear weapons if it wants to but chooses not to possess such weapons. Japan cannot play such a role if we halt the nuclear power policy.

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