Japan Promises ‘Safer Nuclear Future’

Posted September 19th, 2011 at 12:40 pm (UTC-5)
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A top Japanese official has promised what he calls “a safer nuclear future,” following the disaster at Japan's earthquake and tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear plant earlier this year.

The pledge was made Monday by Goshi Hosono, the government minister in charge of managing the Fukushima situation. He said there is a consensus in Japan that the country should reduce its reliance on nuclear power, but that the way to do this must still be debated.

Hosono spoke in Vienna at a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

In Tokyo, thousands of protesters urged the Japanese government to quickly halt the use of nuclear energy.

Police said about 20,000 people took part in the march, making it one of the biggest protests since the disaster. Organizers put the number of marchers much higher.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and his predecessor, Naoto Kan, both say they want to phase out nuclear power. But they say Japan is heavily dependent on nuclear energy, and can only get rid of it gradually.