TOKYO: Anti-nuclear parties banded into a new political group yesterday, as Japan’s fragmented electoral landscape shifts ahead of next month’s national polls.
Three recently-sprouted parties and several independents merged into Nippon Mirai No To (The Future of Japan Party) on a platform of ridding the Fukushima-scarred country of atomic power.
The party is headed by high-profile regional politician Yukiko Kada, and its formation comes as opinion polls show the December 16 election is likely to leave no political party with sufficient seats to govern alone.
“We will create a new party, in response to people saying they don’t have any party to choose from at the moment,” Kada told a press conference near Lake Biwa, Japan’s largest, in a region with a number of ageing nuclear reactors.
Japan must “graduate from nuclear power”, the 62-year-old governor of Shiga prefecture in western Japan said. She later suggested a ten-year period would be required.
The governing Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) on Tuesday declared its aim of weaning the country off nuclear power by the end of the 2030s.
Its opinion poll-leading opponent, the Liberal Democratic Party, has criticised anti-nuclear policies as “irresponsible” and unrealistic. The business-friendly bloc is broadly supportive of nuclear, which advocates say is essential if Japan is going to be able to power its industries.
5.5 magnitude quake shakes Indonesia
JAKARTA: A 5.5-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of eastern Indonesia yesterday, the US Geological Survey said.
The Indonesian Meteorology, Geophysics and Climatology Agency (BMKG) had earlier reported the quake at a magnitude of 6.3 and a depth of 12 kilometres (7.5 miles), but issued no tsunami alert.
USGS reported the quake struck at 0856 GMT at a depth of 55 kilometres, 288 kilometres north of Saumlaki in the Tanimbar Islands.
“There was light shaking reported but we’ve received no reports of damage or casualties so far,” BMKG technical chief Suharjono said.
Indonesia is prone frequent seismic and volcanic activity.