TOKYO - Japan's trade minister said on Tuesday he had not set deadlines to resume operations at nuclear reactors after a media report said the government aimed to restart two reactors around April, the first since the Fukushima disaster almost a year ago.
The Yomiuri newspaper, citing government sources, said the government intended to restart the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors at Kansai Electric Power Co's Ohi plant in Fukui prefecture, western Japan, before the last active reactor in Japan is due to shut by the end of April for regular maintenance.
Trade Minister Yukio Edano, who also holds the energy portfolio, told reporters there was no deadline, reflecting the public sensitivity of proposed restarts after the Fukushima Daiichi plant was hit by a tsunami and suffered meltdowns, spewing radiation and forcing mass evacuations, in March 2011.
"The only standard is whether we can gain a certain level of understanding from the locals and the public," Edano said.
Approval by local authorities is not required by law but the government is reluctant to over-ride public safety concerns.