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Energy panel asked by gov't official not to mull end of nuclear power.

TOKYO, Aug. 3 Kyodo

A senior government official in charge of nuclear policy planning admitted Friday that he pressed the Japan Atomic Energy Commission late last year not to consider stopping the use of nuclear power.

Industry Minister Yukio Edano, who oversees the country's energy policy, expressed his regret over the official's action, telling a news conference that he does want the government to be seen by the public as masterminding the maintenance of nuclear power.

On Dec. 27, Kyoji Yoshino, a director of the Natural Resources and Energy Agency, handed over a document to the commission's head, Shunsuke Kondo, that stated "analyzing a scenario for abolishing nuclear power could encourage those concerned (about the power) and would not help maintain nuclear power," according to the industry ministry

Kondo has been tasked with reviewing Japan's future energy policy with other members.

Edano said the document was written in the official's private capacity. But he added, "While the government has yet to decide whether or not to keep nuclear power, (Yoshino's behavior) could be taken by the public that the government is maneuvering to maintain nuclear power."

Yoshino, director of the nuclear energy policy planning division at the agency, received a verbal reprimand from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

"I submitted the document as a way to exchange views between administrative bodies, but I inadvertently wrote too much on the content," Yoshino told Kyodo News.

In January, a panel of the commission, upon the request of the government, began discussions on Japan's future nuclear fuel cycle policy after the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

In May, the commission drew up different policy options that determined how much of Japan's total energy supply in 2030 should come from nuclear power, including one that involved the abolition of nuclear power altogether.
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Comment:Energy panel asked by gov't official not to mull end of nuclear power.
Publication:Japan Energy Scan
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Aug 6, 2012
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