The nuclear energy policies of Japan are primarily the responsibility of the Cabinet Office, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology.
Within the Cabinet Office, the Japan Atomic Energy Commission is responsible for policies for the promotion of the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Within the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy is responsible for nuclear energy policies in the area of energy use. The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology is responsible for issues relating to research and development of nuclear energy as science and technology.
On the regulatory side, the Nuclear Regulation Authority was established in September 2012 as a highly independent agency. It oversees nuclear energy regulation in an integrated manner, replacing previous practices whereby such regulations had been practiced by several government agencies in a dispersed manner.
The Strategic Energy Plan is developed by the government under “the Basic Act of Energy Policy” to provide basic direction to energy policies. The current Strategic Energy Plan, which was approved by Cabinet on April 11, 2014, identifies nuclear power as an important base-load power source contributing to stability of the energy supply-demand structure.
The new Nuclear Regulatory Standards, enforced as from July 2013, have strengthened the design basis of nuclear power plants and measures to protect against earthquakes and tsunamis; measures against severe accidents, which had previously not been included, have also been added. In the event that the NRA confirms the conformity of nuclear power plants with these new regulatory requirements, the GOJ will follow the NRA’s judgment and will proceed with the restart of nuclear power plants.
In view of the urgent need to develop human resources to support what has been global growth in nuclear energy use, the Nuclear Energy Human Resource Development Network was established upon the initiative of the Government of Japan (Cabinet Office, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan), aiming at a system in which nuclear energy human resource development organizations from industry, government, and academia can work together to develop human resources for nuclear energy. Further details are available from the following website: