Japanese economy takes off, but country needs nuclear power
For the Asahi Shimbun, the population is confused on the reopening of nuclear power plants which are fundamental to the national industrial production: on one hand the "Fukushima effect" is still feared the other, the number of those who support the Prime Minister Abe and his energy policy is growing. In Korea, the closure of facilities creates social tensions: the Church invites everyone to remain calm and dialogue.

Tokyo (AsiaNews) - The energy crisis that hit the Far East after the closure of nuclear power plants in Japan is having a "huge impact" on the economies of Japan and South Korea This is revealed by a survey conducted among Japanese people by the newspaper Asahi Shimbun : according to data collected by the newspaper 60% of the population does not want to see nuclear plants reopened, but 51% expect "economic growth" from the government.

The closure of the all reactors was ordered by the executive after the Fukushima disaster, which occurred in March of 2011. The structures were reinforced and subjected to rigorous security checks, but they are still shut: the government led by Shinzo Abe announced that it will reopen them by the summer to bring down energy prices and restart industrial production.

The data collected show by Asahi depict a sharply divided country. 27% of the population approve of the use of nuclear energy for economic growth, but 58% do not want to reopen the plants. At the same time, 51% say they agree with the policies of Abe for economic recovery, even though the vast majority of respondents said that the national economy "has not improved" since the government took office in December 2012 . According to the National Cabinet, however, from January to March 2013, the economy grew by 1% compared to the previous quarter.

The tragedy of Fukushima has created a snowball effect in South Korea and Taiwan, nations that have been using atomic energy for several decades. The Seoul government was forced by public opinion to "freeze" the national plants  "review them", and last month - to control energy prices - it approved the construction of alternative power plants.

One of these, near the city of Miryang, is not acceptable to the local population who believe it is useless and harmful. The Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) proceeded in construction work until a group of protesters chained themselves to the gates on the 24th of May. To try to calm the waters, South Korea's Bishops' Commission for Justice and Peace has called "both sides for calm."

The President of the Commission, Msgr. Matthias Ri Iong-hoon, has sent a message to the protesters and to the Kepco leadership, "Nothing is more important than human life, therefore a construction that damages the residents cannot be justified. However, the issue must be addressed with wisdom: stop the construction and resume the dialogue, so that we can resolve the issue in a peaceful manner. "

Instead Taiwan is in the grips of heated debate over the "Nuke 4", the fourth power plant under construction in New Taipei. Although the island aims to become fully sustainable by 2025, the government now intends to proceed with the construction of the facility to keep energy costs low. But the decision has created several domestic disputes.

 

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