TOKYO - Japan needs more time to decide whether to restart two offline nuclear reactors, the trade minister said on Tuesday, as concerns about a summer power crunch vie with safety worries in the wake of last year's Fukushima crisis.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda will meet three cabinet members on Tuesday to discuss restarting the reactors, but will not make any immediate decision, Trade Minister Yuki Edano, who holds the energy portfolio, told reporters.
"Safety should be ensured to avoid massive leaks of radioactive materials as occurred in the Fukushima crisis even if an earthquake and tsunami that exceed past expectations occur," Edano told reporters.
"We should also obtain the understanding of local communities in that regard."
All but one of Japan's 54 reactors have been shut, mostly for maintenance checks, over the months since the disaster at Tokyo Electric Power's Fukushima plant, triggered by a huge tsunami in March 2011. The remaining reactor is set to be closed for maintenance on May 5.