Japan makes new nuclear safety vows
Tokyo - Japan on Tuesday pledged to overhaul regulation of nuclear power, saying that lax standards and poor oversight had contributed to the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986.
Japanese officials have been widely criticised for their handling of the nuclear disaster, triggered by a March 11 quake and tsunami, which has prompted a complete rethink on the future of nuclear energy in the quake-prone country.
The government report, which will be presented to the International Atomic Energy Agency, promised to set up an independent nuclear regulatory agency, breaking the long-criticised ties between the Japanese utility industry and officials overseeing its safety.
"What's most important for Japan to rebuild its trust is to transparently communicate to the international community about this accident," Kan told a meeting of cabinet ministers.
As an immediate step, Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency announced new safety measures that utilities will have to show by this month how they will be enforced, officials said.
Currently, Japan is running only 19 of 54 reactors in operation before the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, raising the risk of deep power shortages into 2012.
Local officials government have been waiting for new safety standards to be introduced and implemented before approving a restart of the remaining reactors.