Kan announces wish to abandon nuclear power, but what are its chances of becoming a reality?
On July 15th, 2011 Japanese Prime Minister Kan announced a policy that Japan would abandon all future plans of relying on nuclear power. However, he had to quickly backpedal by explaining that this was just a personal view that he wished to pursue in formulating a policy with his cabinet. His own party was not pleased that he spoke before a consensus had been formed, and he is likely to be strongly opposed by entrenched interests. But he is to be commended for tossing the idea out into the public arena because it puts supporters of nuclear energy on the defensive. One can only hope that momentum for Kan's "personal view" will build as the Japanese public eventually grasps the enormity of the disaster that has happened. So far, this doesn't seem to be the case. The big utilities and the national bureaucracy have enormous power, but local opposition could be effective in shutting down nuclear power one reactor at a time over the coming years.