Energy and Environment Council
Friday, September 14, 2012
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda attended the meeting of the Energy and Environment Council at the Prime Minister's Office.
At the meeting, the Innovative Strategy for Energy and the Environment was decided.
Based on the decision, the Prime Minister said, "By deciding the Innovative Strategy for Energy and the Environment here today, we are now finally able to stand at the new starting line.
Reviewing the history of nuclear power generation in Japan over the past half century, there had been various efforts, trial and error, and above all, cooperation from the municipalities in which the nuclear power plants were located with the national policy. Even though, we still have difficult problems that remain unsolved today, including the issue of the final disposal site. Further, as we have decided to aim for realizing a society that does not depend on nuclear power after having experienced the accident on March 11 last year, we now face numerous problems that are even more difficult to solve. We must also respond properly to international requests, including nuclear non-proliferation.
What we are about to start is this type of extremely difficult challenge. However, no matter how difficult it may be, we must no longer put off dealing with it.
Naturally, answers to the problems that have not been solved up till now cannot be found immediately. In order to change the entire system surrounding the nuclear power stations in this country that has been established over a history spanning half a century, it will be necessary to sincerely interact with the various parties involved over a considerably long period.
In addition, it is impossible to get a decisive view of all the future potential developments concerning matters such as the international energy situation that may have a large influence on the energy structure at this stage. I believe that it is rather irresponsible to make a decisive judgment on the unforeseeable future. We must start with a strategy that has both a secure direction and the flexibility to cope with changes in the situation, without wavering from the basic policy and also not excessively restricting future decisions.
At the same time, there is another important issue. Human resources with advanced technical skills and a strong sense of pride will become more and more important for restoring the accident site in Fukushima and implementing the decontamination at the earliest date possible, for ensuring the safety of the existent nuclear power stations, for steadily carrying forward the decommissioning, and also for solving the problem of the final disposal site. We must overcome the damage of the accident and secure human resources and technology as a matter of national responsibility.
Energy is extremely important for people's lives and economic activities. The new 'energy society' for which the new strategy aims is a decentralized-network type society which can be realized only with the participation of each citizen. The Energy and Environment Council called for overcoming the confrontation between the opposition to nuclear power generation and its promotion in the meeting held in July 29, 2011. Now we must exercise wisdom and share burdens and the government and the people must work together to establish a new society in terms of energy.
This is the new starting line. Thinking of the people of Fukushima who are still deprived of their homeland, and without neglecting the repeated discussions with local governments in which nuclear power plants are located, such as Aomori Prefecture, as well as with relevant countries abroad, we must now unravel the tangled web strand by strand. In order to serve as a precedent to the world and to fulfill our responsibility for future generations, working together with the people, I would like to start one by one from what we can do.
The members of the Energy and Environment Council including myself, who decided the new strategy here today, must lead the change, and I would like to ask for your cooperation."