Japan sees nuke plants as deterrent against attack

As Japan`s defence chief, Satoshi Morimoto is destined to take part in the Cabinet’s imminent decision on the new national energy policy.

Tokyo: A remark made by Japan’s Defence Chief Satoshi Morimoto, who viewed the nation`s nuclear power plants as a ‘deterrent’ against foreign attack, has been interpreted as indicating that nuclear plants cautioned neighbouring countries to be conscious of Japan`s potential capacity to develop atomic weapons to contribute to the nation`s defence.

During a January 25 public forum interaction in Sapporo, Morimoto had reportedly said Japan`s nuclear plants are “taken by neighbouring countries as having very great defensive deterrent functions,” as apparently other neighbouring countries suppose that Japan could produce atomic weapons quickly if it desired to.

“Now that I have become a member of the government, I would like to observe the government’s three nonnuclear principles, not possessing, producing or allowing the presence of nuclear weapons in the country,” the Japan Times quoted Morimoto, as saying.

As defence chief, Morimoto, who is not an elected politician, is destined to take part in the Cabinet’s imminent decision on the new national energy policy, including the role of nuclear power in future electric power generation.

The government is considering three nuclear share options for 2030: zero percent, 15 percent and 20-25 percent, against 26 percent in 2010. Public opinion is strongly in favour of the zero percent option, the paper said.

However, Morimoto has called for nuclear plants to be maintained for defensive purposes as well as energy security, and indicated that 25 percent should be the appropriate share for atomic power vis-à-vis Japan’s electric energy mix, it added.