Japan wants to consider lowering nuclear dependence: trade minister

TOKYO Mon Sep 16, 2013 11:33pm EDT

Japan's Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Toshimitsu Motegi takes a seat as he meets with mayors and council chairmen of the towns nearby Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s (TEPCO) tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to discuss about leaked water problem of the nuclear plant in Tokyo September 6, 2013. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

Japan's Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Toshimitsu Motegi takes a seat as he meets with mayors and council chairmen of the towns nearby Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s (TEPCO) tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to discuss about leaked water problem of the nuclear plant in Tokyo September 6, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Toru Hanai

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TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's trade minister said on Tuesday the government would like to consider lowering the dependence on nuclear power two-and-a- half years after a massive earthquake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima plant in northeast Japan.

All nuclear reactors in Japan went off line this week, for only the third time in more than three decades, after Kansai Electric Power Co shut down its Ohi No. 4 reactor for planned maintenance.

"We will keep the technology and personnel related to nuclear power and they must contribute to the world, but we would like to consider ways to lower our dependence on nuclear power," said Trade and Industry Minister Toshimitsu Motegi.

Tokyo Electric Power Co, the operator of the crippled Fukushima plant, is battling to contain hundreds of tonnes of contaminated water accumulating at the site. The Japanese government pledged half a billion dollars this month to deal with the crisis.

(Reporting by Sumio Ito; Editing by Paul Tait)

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