Former Japanese prime ministers Junichiro Koizumi and Naoto Kan on Thursday called on the European Union to continue on the path to zero nuclear power, with the bloc planning to designate it as a “green” form of energy to achieve net zero emissions by the middle of the century.
Both Koizumi and Kan were supporters of nuclear power generation when in power, but have become prominent anti-nuclear voices in Japan since the 2011 Fukushima disaster triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami. . Kan was prime minister when disaster struck northeastern Japan.
“Following the 2011 nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, we learned that nuclear energy is not safe, cheap and clean energy,” said Koizumi, a reformer who exercised his functions from 2001 to 2006, during a press conference. at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan.
Former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi speaks during a news conference at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan on January 27, 2022 in Tokyo. (Kyodo)
“Even though we are not dependent on nuclear energy and do not use fossil fuels, there is enough renewable energy to provide the necessary energy. This is true in Japan as well as in other countries of the world,” added Kan, who served in the role between 2010 and 2011.
In the EU classification to guide and mobilize private investment in activities needed to achieve climate neutrality over the next 30 years, it is proposed that energy from nuclear fission and natural gas be labeled as ” green”.
The European Commission, the bloc’s executive arm, believes that natural gas and nuclear power have a role to play in transitioning to a future based primarily on renewable energy.
Some EU members such as Austria, Germany and Spain oppose or remain skeptical of the proposal, while France has led the campaign for nuclear power to be included in the green box classification.
The regulation is expected to come into force in 2023, allowing nuclear power and natural gas to join renewables on a list of technologies approved for private investment and EU financial support.
The two former leaders of Japan have warned of the risks associated with nuclear energy.
Japan’s former Prime Minister Naoto Kan speaks during a news conference at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan on January 27, 2022 in Tokyo. (Kyodo)
“At the time of the Fukushima accident, even the people of Tokyo were about to have to evacuate. If such an accident were to happen in France, the people of Paris would have to evacuate for 50 or even 100 years,” Kan said. . .
Considering the situation in France, which relies heavily on nuclear power as a base load source, Koizumi pointed out that Germany is gradually disengaging and Japan is reducing its reliance on atomic power.
“I hope this will help change the minds of French (and other pro-nuclear states) leaders,” said Koizumi, who owns a hydrogen car.
“Japan should export renewable technologies to developing countries rather than nuclear technologies, as many of these countries are endowed with natural resources,” Koizumi added.