TOKYO (AP) — Japan's government is backing off a recommendation to phase out nuclear power.
The Cabinet today stopped short of a commitment to wean the country off nuclear energy by 2040, though it did vaguely agree to pursue the goals recommended by an advisory panel. The panel's report acknowledged the public anxiety about nuclear power since last year's disaster at the Fukushima Dai-ichi (foo-koo-SHEE'-mah dy-EE'-chee) plant and urged greater reliance on renewable energy, more conservation and sustainable use of fossil fuels.
While the government's policy minister (Motohisa Furukawa) says the focus of Japan's energy policy continues to be phasing out nuclear power, the Cabinet said it would only take the policy report "into consideration" and would seek public support for its recommendations.
Pro-nuclear businesses and other groups have expressed their opposition to a phase-out. They praised the Cabinet's decision.
Nuclear power provided about a third of the country's electricity when earthquakes and a tsunami struck in March 2011, triggering the accident at the Fukushima plant.