The Yomiuri Shimbun
How should the stable supply of electricity, which underpins people’s daily lives, be maintained? The pros and cons of utilizing nuclear power generation have become a major focal point in the coming House of Representatives election.
The Liberal Democratic Party has insisted it will utilize nuclear power plants as an important baseload power source. The ruling party insists on moving forward the resumption of nuclear power plant operations, taking into account the Strategic Energy Plan adopted by the Cabinet in 2014.
Komeito, the LDP’s junior coalition partner, has put forward the idea of disallowing the construction of new power plants, while pursuing a society that does not rely on nuclear power plants and bringing nuclear power generation to zero. Regarding restarting nuclear reactors, Komeito expressed willingness to keep in step with the LDP, saying, “We will make a decision after obtaining the understanding of related entities, including local governments, on the basis of meeting strict safety standards.”
Like the ruling parties, Kibo no To (Party of Hope) has announced a policy that approves of restarting nuclear power plants. However, the party has made clear it aims to reduce nuclear power generation to zero by 2030 by increasing the ratio of renewable energy to 30 percent and realizing an “eco-friendly society.”
Many former Democratic Party members have joined Kibo. The DP announced its target year for having no nuclear power plants in operation was “in the 2030s.” The DP abandoned the idea of moving up the target year to 2030 due to opposition from the Japan Trade Union Confederation (Rengo), a supporter of the party, but Kibo has clearly specified an end date for nuclear power plants. Kibo is also reportedly aiming at having its zero nuclear power policy written into the Constitution.
Nippon Ishin no Kai has expressed the view that existing nuclear power plants will phase out amid fierce market competition brought on by the further liberalization of electricity, and that the need to obtain approval from prefectures to restart nuclear reactors should be stipulated in law.
The Japanese Communist Party, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and the Social Democratic Party are all opposed to resuming nuclear power plant operations. The JCP insists on entering into the process of decommissioning all nuclear power plants and increasing the ratio of renewable energy to 40 percent of total power generation by 2030.
Though the CDPJ was established by a contingent of former DP members, the party has clearly diverged from the DP on nuclear policy. The CDPJ said it will draw up a “zero nuclear power plant basic law” to achieve nuclear-free power generation as soon as possible.
The SDP also aims to realize zero nuclear power plants. Its goal is to increase the ratio of renewable energy to 100 percent by 2050. Speech