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Civic group proposes bill for Japan to exit nuclear power

Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, far right, speaks at a press conference at the House of Representatives First Members' Office Building in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward on Jan. 10, 2018, to announce the bill for a nuclear free, renewable energy plan. Sitting on the far left is former Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa. (Mainichi)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- A Japanese civic group of activists, scholars and former politicians proposed a bill Wednesday to promote the country's use of renewable energy and exit nuclear power in the hope of gaining the support of ruling and opposition parties.

    "We will definitely realize zero nuclear plants by winning the support of many citizens," former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who serves as the group's adviser, told a press conference.

    Koizumi, whose remarks still carry influence among the public, and former Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa have been campaigning against the resumption of nuclear reactors taken offline after the 2011 Fukushima disaster. Hosokawa is also an adviser to the group.

    The leader of the group, Tsuyoshi Yoshiwara, later exchanged views with officials of the anti-nuclear Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, the largest opposition force in the House of Representatives. The group is urging lawmakers to submit the bill to the Diet's ordinary session to be convened on Jan. 22.

    The government led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who doubles as the head of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, is promoting the restart of idle nuclear reactors.

    Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a separate press conference Wednesday the government's stance to bring reactors back online once they clear safety reviews of the Nuclear Regulation Authority "will not change."

    "We will also seek to lower the dependence on nuclear power as much as possible by maximizing the use of renewable energy and the thorough implementation of energy-saving measures," the top government spokesman said.

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