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Japan ex-prime minister Koizumi pushes bill to kill nuclear power

Liberal opposition party signals support

Japan's ex-Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, far right, proposed an outline Wednesday for a bill to immediately shut down Japan's nuclear power.

TOKYO -- A group advised by two former Japanese prime ministers on Wednesday unveiled the outline of a bill calling for an immediate shutdown of country's nuclear power stations in favor of natural energy sources.

Moving Japan away from nuclear power "is difficult under the [Shinzo] Abe administration," former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi told a press conference at the Diet. But that goal, he said, "will absolutely be realized in the near future, with support from a majority of citizens."

The group would "cooperate with any party that makes serious efforts to advance denuclearization and natural energy," added Koizumi, who headed Japan's government from 2001 to 2006.

Fellow adviser Morihiro Hosokawa, who served as prime minister from 1993 to 1994, also attended the press conference. The group called for wide-ranging cooperation among ruling and opposition parties with the aim of submitting a bill to the regular Diet session set to convene Jan. 22.

The leader of the anti-nuclear group later took part in an energy-policy discussion with the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan. During lower-house elections late last year, the party promised to deliver a bill to wean Japan off nuclear energy.

Bringing Japan's nuclear power to zero is a "moral responsibility for the future of the people," said Tetsuro Fukuyama, secretary-general of the Constitutional Democrats.


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