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Japan stresses cost of ending nuclear power as decision looms

Published on Sep 5, 2012 4:22 PM
People stage an anti-nuclear demonstration march in Tokyo's shopping district Shibuya on Aug 26, 2012. -- PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Japan's government, buffeted by conflicting pressure from anti-nuclear voters and pro-nuclear business interests, is stressing the negative impact of a speedy exit from atomic energy as it nears a decision on a new energy mix.

Japan is rethinking its whole energy policy after an earthquake and tsunami damaged the Fukushima nuclear power plant in March last year, triggering the world's worst nuclear crisis in 25 years.

Defining nuclear power's role has become a hot button issue for Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, whose unpopular Democratic Party faces an election expected within months.

Signs the government, worried about a growing anti-nuclear movement, was leaning toward a target of abandoning nuclear power by 2030 have, experts say, galvanized a push-back by utilities and their business and bureaucratic supporters.

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