Japan Drops Plan to Phase Out Nuclear by 2040
Japan backtracked on plans announced earlier this month to drop nuclear power, saying it would "take into consideration" a goal for a 2040 phaseout after it drew sharp criticism from industry. Business groups and communities whose economies depend on local power plants strongly opposed the plan, and chairmen of Japan's business associations called a joint news conference to demand the government drop its 2040 goal. The deadline, which the government stopped short of formally adopting, was criticized as vague and including several loopholes, and the chairman of the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry said it "was not a viable option in the first place." Former prime minister Naoto Kan first made the commitment to phasing out nuclear power through conservation and an increased reliance on renewables and fossil fuels in 2011. His successor has since continued to make vague promises to reduce Japan's nuclear dependence after a series of public hearings held by the government showed strong support for phasing out nuclear power and a mistrust of government to oversee safety issues. For the full story, see http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/20/world/asia/japan-backs-off-of-goal-to-phase-out-nuclear-power-by-2040.html?_r=0 and http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444165804578005882519607670.html.