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Japan’s Former Prime Minister Urges Australia to Stop Exporting Enriched Uranium

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Former Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan has urged Australia to stop exporting enriched uranium, and to make efforts to reduce dependence on nuclear power, The Japan Times reports.

MOSCOW, August 25 (RIA Novosti) - Former Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan has urged Australia to stop exporting enriched uranium, and to make efforts to reduce dependence on nuclear power, The Japan Times reports.

“All countries including Australia should be making efforts to do what can be done to reduce such dependence on nuclear power,” The Japan Times quoted Kan as saying.

Naoto Kan was the prime minister of Japan when the Fukushima disaster occurred in 2011. After the catastrophe, Kan’s Democratic Party of Japan developed a policy to wean the country off nuclear power, and replace it with renewable energy sources.

However, the policy was overturned after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party came to power in 2012.

On Friday, Kan arrived in uranium-rich Darwin, Australia to visit a mine that supplied fuel for the Fukushima plant. In the forthcoming days, Kan is also scheduled to inspect a wave-activated power station and meet with the Australian Greens political party.

“I hope that Australia can be exporting not uranium . . . but electricity created through renewable sources,” Kan said.

In March 2011, Japan’s Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant was hit by a powerful earthquake and a subsequent tsunami, causing a partial meltdown of three of the plant’s nuclear reactors, with radiation leaking into the atmosphere, soil and sea.

The incident was the world’s worst nuclear disaster since the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe.

After the incident, Japan’s government and Fukushima-Daiichi operator TEPCO were criticized for not being able to adequately respond to the disaster.

Australia is the world’s third-largest uranium producer, exporting the metal to countries including Japan, the United Kingdom, China, France, Germany, South Korea and the United States.

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