Hiroshima Memorial, Nuclear Policy Discussed by Leaders
Monday marks the 67th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, and dignitaries from around the world have gathered at the Hiroshima Memorial to discuss nuclear policy and safety.
"The government must learn from the lessons of Fukushima's nuclear accident and establish without delay an energy policy that guards the safety and the livelihood of the Japanese public," Hiroshima mayor Kazumi Matsui told the public.
Last year's nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima plant was the worst the world had seen since 1986's meltdown at Chernobyl. According to reports it could take up to 40 years to clean up the mess and make the area safe for residents and workers.
Now, though, residents are calling on Japanese officials to move away from nuclear energy and avoid any future risks. Citizens were given three options to discuss at a panel over the weekend. The first choice was zero dependence, meaning that there would be no nuclear power plants in the country.
The second option was cutting down nuclear reliance to 15 percent, and the third was a bit higher at 20 to 25 percent nuclear dependence. After citizens voted, the government has promised to evaluate the findings and hold forums to share the results with the public. A new energy policy is due at the end of this month
Japan has previously remained stoic and silent on the topic of nuclear energy, with only companies and high-ranking officials having the necessary knowledge of nuclear policy. The country came under harsh criticism after the Fukushima meltdown, with many people feeling they were being put in harm's way and not given all the options to remain safety.
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"Under our fundamental policy to abandon the nation's dependence on nuclear power, we will strive to establish a mid-to-long-term energy structure, one (with) which the public will feel safe," Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda told the crowd at the memorial.