Japan atomic power defenders advocate nuclear weapons

February 13, 2012 07:28

TOKYO - Japan's nuclear power advocates have pulled out all the stops since the Fukushima crisis, even arguing that the only nation to suffer an atomic attack needs to keep its ability to build its own nuclear weapons.

Once, merely the public suggestion that Japan should debate ending its ban on such weaponry was enough to get a politician fired. But worries about North Korea's nuclear ambitions and an expanding Chinese military are eroding that taboo.

Last March's disaster at the Fukushima atomic plant, which spewed radiation and forced mass evacuations, has already prompted Japan to scrap a plan to boost nuclear power to over 50 percent of electricity demand by 2030 from 30 percent before the accident.

But politicians, experts and officials are still arguing over what role - if any - nuclear power should play in a new energy mix program to be unveiled in the summer.

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