15 Mai 2014
May 13, 2014
Aso urges nuclear plant restarts to cut fuel costs
Japan's Finance Minister says the country's nuclear power plants need to be restarted once their safety is confirmed.
Taro Aso told reporters on Tuesday the step is necessary to slash the huge fuel import costs that cut deep into the nation's current account surplus in fiscal 2013.
He expressed concern about the impact of higher electricity rates on businesses and households.
Aso said nuclear power is the cheapest source of energy for the time being. He noted higher utility costs could raise prices and dampen consumer spending.
All nuclear reactors in Japan are now offline.
Aso also said Japan needs a growth strategy that will allow businesses to earn foreign currency not only through exports but also through overseas investments.
He said such a strategy is needed to stop the current account surplus from shrinking further.
Japan's surplus in the year ended March was the smallest since comparable data became available in 1985.
May 13, 2014 - Updated 08:42 UTC