Former Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) leader Ichiro Ozawa laid down a political gauntlet on behalf of his new political party by announcing plans to abolish nuclear power in Japan within 10 years.
In July, Ozawa, 70, launched his new Kokumin no Seikatsu ga Daiichi (People's Life First) party along with some 50 ruling party defectors, vowing to reduce the nation's reliance on nuclear power.
Following Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's recent statement that nuclear power was necessary for now, Ozawa told a news conference at his new party headquarters on Wednesday that abolishing nuclear power was one of his party's three main aims, TV Asahi reported.
Political analysts are speculating that Ozawa's policy pronouncement has been timed to coincide with the run-up to the general election, which is thought to be on the horizon. The policy is likely to attract a lot of attention to his party and to prove attractive to the Japanese public who are becoming increasingly concerned about the use of nuclear power.
"After we take power, we will aim to decommission all nuclear power plants and drastically change Japan's energy policy," Ozawa said, adding that there have been no blackouts so far this summer -- proving that the nation can get along without nuclear power.
He said that it would be possible to eliminate the country's dependence on nuclear power within 10 years by enhancing the efficiency of current thermal power generation technology, promoting power-saving measures and by taking advantage of alternative energy sources, TV Asahi reported.
Ozawa's two other stated policy priorities are to scrap the government's planned consumption tax hike and to allow local governments to spend state funds at their own discretion.
"I am determined to take action to help revoke the bill for the consumption tax hike," he said. "The tax increase bill has been forced through the lower house following a scenario written by bureaucrats and reneging on promises to the people. It will slow down consumer spending and hurt the economy."© Japan Today