September 12, 2019 / 7:18 AM / 3 days ago

Disputing colleague, new Japan minister calls no-nukes policy 'unrealistic'

TOKYO, Sept 12 (Reuters) - Ridding Japan of nuclear power completely is unrealistic, the new industry minister said on Thursday, toeing the government’s line but contradicting comments made a day earlier by the new environment minister.

“There are risks and fears about nuclear power,” industry and trade minister Isshu Sugawara told reporters a day after his appointment by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in a cabinet reshuffle.

“But ‘zero-nukes’ is, at the moment and in the future, not realistic,” he added.

The comments by Sugawara, himself formerly an anti-nuclear advocate, were at odds with those made by new environment minister Shinjiro Koizumi, who said on Wednesday he wanted Japan to close down nuclear reactors to avoid a repeat of the Fukushima catastrophe in 2011. (Reporting by Ritsuko Shimizu Writing by Chang-Ran Kim; Editing by David Dolan)

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