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Kan looking to split NISA, METI
The Japan Times Online

(Kyodo News) Prime Minister Naoto Kan is looking into the feasibility of separating the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, according to government sources. METI has long actively promoted nuclear power, which critics say compromises the NISA's role of ensuring safety in the industry. Kan's review of how the government handles nuclear energy comes as Japan is living through its worst-ever nuclear energy crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant.

The agency, established as a special entity of the METI-affiliated Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, is responsible for ensuring the safety of nuclear plants. The Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan, institutionalized under the Cabinet Office, is designed to double-check the agency's steps. In reality, though, the commission merely echoes what the agency decides, according to government officials.

Regional governments hosting nuclear plants have been calling for years for the agency to be independent from the ministry to effectively ensure safety of the facilities. Likewise, Mizuho Fukushima, head of the Social Democratic Party, said in a news conference that she met with Kan and stressed to him her party's long-standing position that the agency must be severed from the ministry.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Apr 2nd, 2011 at 01:08:54 AM EST

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