Abe says he will see to restart of nuclear power station in southwestern Japan

Japan's prime minister says tells business executives he will ensure nuclear power station is restarted "by some means or other,” despite widespread unease following the Fukushima meltdown

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 July, 2014, 2:03pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 July, 2014, 2:03pm

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has told business leaders in southwestern Japan that his government will see to it that a nuclear plant in the region is restarted “by some means or other,” sources familiar with the matter said on Saturday.

Abe made the remark as an independent regulatory body continues the ongoing process of vetting the plant, and even though the government has said it will leave the final decision on whether to restart Kyushu Electric Power’s Sendai plant up to its operator following the Nuclear Regulatory Authority’s safety review.

“I will see to it by some means or other. I will properly deal with it,” Abe was quoted by one of the sources as saying in a dinner meeting in Fukuoka on Friday at which local business executives, including Kyushu Electric’s chairman, voiced their hope for the reactor restart.

The Sendai plant in Kagoshima Prefecture recently cleared an initial safety hurdle, in what is seen as a major step toward becoming the first nuclear facility to restart under new safety standards introduced following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis.

Kyushu Electric and eight other utilities have applied for safety screenings for a total of 19 reactors so far.