Election Victories in Japan Could Maintain Japan’s Nuclear Energy Future

Japan’s parliament.

After several years out of power, Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has regained majority control of the parliament — and thereby improved the likelihood that nuclear energy will provide a portion of its electricity mix.

Japan’s future nuclear policy was a major factor in Sunday’s elections. Over the past several months, the outgoing Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) generated controversy because of its opposition to nuclear energy, at one point advocating a complete phase-out of nuclear power by 2040, though it later backpedaled from that goal. The LDP, led by experienced prime minister Shinzo Abe, is expected to support reactivating some of the country’s nuclear power plants once they receive safety sign-offs from the Nuclear Regulation Authority. Only two of the country’s 50 reactors are currently online.

Abe announced that he will improve Japan’s diplomatic ties with the United States, which are reported to have been tense over the past few years. He says his first international trip as prime minister will be to Washington, D.C.

“We need to deepen ties with the rest of Asia including India and Australia, and not only diplomatically, but in the fields of security and energy, before starting to work on improving ties with China,” said Abe.

“The U.S-Japan Alliance serves as the cornerstone of peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific and I look forward to working closely with the next government and the people of Japan on a range of important bilateral, regional and global issues,” Presient Obama said in a statement.

Sources: The New York Times (1,2), The Asahi Shimbun