Published on Dec 4, 2013
Ruling parties to adopt secrecy bill at committee
The Diet battle between the ruling and opposition parties over the controversial state secrets bill is in its final stage.
The ruling coalition is trying to adopt the bill at an Upper House special committee on Thursday. The current Diet session is scheduled to end on Friday.
Lawmakers in the main ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner New Komeito say all arguments about the bill have already been dealt with.
They have vowed to pass the bill at the ad hoc committee on Thursday. The ruling parties are poised to submit a motion to vote on the bill in the plenary session of the chamber on Thursday, depending on the stance of opposition parties.
LDP lawmakers say they are determined to enact the legislation during the current Diet session.
Opposition parties are criticizing the coalition for tying to steamroll the bill through the Diet.
Your Party, which earlier voted in the Lower House for an amended bill, is demanding an extension of the current Diet session for more debate.
Some members of the Japan Restoration Party are also refusing to support the bill. They say Prime Minister Shinzo Abe did not adequately answer questions in the Diet about amendments reached with the party.
The coalition will meet with the two opposition parties on Thursday to broker a compromise and win their cooperation in enacting the secrecy bill.
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Fukushima people can seek compensation for decade
Japan’s Diet has extended the period for people seeking compensation for damages caused by the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The previous 3-year limit has been lengthened to 10 years.
The Upper House passed a bill for the enactment on Wednesday. The ruling coalition parties proposed the bill as the current civil law limits the right to seek compensation from the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company to up to 3 years from the accident.
The new law notes that some people affected by the 2011 accident have been unable to seek compensation because they are having difficulties in calculating the damages. Many residents still live in temporally housing.
The new law will enable people affected by the nuclear disaster to file a compensation demand with TEPCO until 10 years after the accident.
The law also calls on the government to improve the consultation system and provide information to disaster-affected people so that they can receive compensation as early as possible.
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Published on Dec 5, 2013
Role of Atomic Energy Commission to be changed
An expert panel reviewing the Japanese government’s Atomic Energy Commission is set to recommend that it redefine its role in promoting the use of nuclear energy.
The 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster prompted the review of the role played by the commission for more than 50 years. The panel agreed this year that the commission should no longer set the country’s nuclear policy.
The panel on Thursday compiled a draft set of recommendations, including that the number of commissioners be cut from the current 5 to 3.
The draft says that to ensure the commission’s neutrality, its secretariat should not accept employees on loan from power utilities or nuclear plant makers. It recommends using personnel from universities and research institutes.
It also says the commission should handle limited tasks that require cross-ministry efforts, such as disposal of radioactive waste.
It also recommends that the commission confirm that nuclear technology is used only for peaceful purposes such as power generation and research.
The panel is expected to finalize its recommendations next Tuesday.
TEPCO prepares $28 billion investment plan
Tokyo Electric Power Company is planning to spend about 28 billion dollars over 10 years to improve its business performance.
The utility needs to increase profits in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster to pay for the plant’s decommissioning and compensate those affected.
The firm’s new investment plan says it will rebuild and modernize thermal power plants more than 40 years old, mainly in the Tokyo Bay area.
The utility hopes to raise the thermal plants’ efficiency, as it is expected to have to reduce its dependence on nuclear power.
And it plans to build facilities to handle shale gas imported from North America. The low-priced gas is expected to cut costs.
TEPCO will also invest in overseas gas development projects.
The investment plan is to be finalized this month.
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Posted on 5 de December de 2013by fernandocascais
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