As Japan marked the third anniversary on Tuesday of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that sparked a nuclear emergency, debate rages as to whether the country should return to nuclear power.
Japan shut down its reactors in the wake of the meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power plant following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is keen to return the resource-poor country back to nuclear energy.
He faces opposition from a wary public as well as high-profile figures such as former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. On Sunday, tens of thousands of Japanese staged an anti-nuclear rally in Tokyo, just ahead of the anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that claimed nearly 20,000 lives.
“Clearly today, the third anniversary of the Fukushima disaster, energy is very much in the thinking here as well as the more tragic consequences of the tsunami,” said Alistair Newton, senior political analyst at Nomura, told CNBC from Tokyo.
Japan needs more fossil fuels to make up for the closures of its nuclear power plants, fueling worries that high energy costs could hurt the economy. Data on Monday showed that Japan’s current account deficit widened to a record of 1.589 trillion yen ($15.4 billion) in January.
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