Minister of Education and Science Yoshiaki Takagi, a former union official at a shipyard in Nagasaki before he ran for office, visited Monju, the troubled fast breeder reactor in Tsuruga City in Fukui Prefecture where Governor Nishikawa may be jockeying for an advantageous position vis a vis the national government on the Hokuriku Shinkansen (bullet train) project and opposing the re-start of the reactors in his prefecture.
From Nikkei Shinbun (8/3/2011):
Minister of Education and Science Yoshiaki Takagi visited Fast Breeder Reactor "Monju" in Tsuruga City, Fukui Prefecture to be briefed on the implementation of safety measures after the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident.
After the visit, the minister gave comments to the press, "Research and development to find ways to use uranium fuel more effectively and to reduce nuclear waste is a natural fit for Japan, which has scarce natural resources", emphasizing the importance of developing a fast breeder reactor. However, he avoided specifics of the future development policy and said "it will be made clear through the discussion of renewable energy in the government's energy and environmental committees".
Minister Takagi hinted at discontinuing the development of Monju during the press conference after the cabinet meeting on July 15 morning, but effectively withdrew his comment in the evening of the same day.
Since Sellafield is closing its MOX-fuel plant specifically designed for the Japanese nuclear industry due to uncertain prospect after the Fukushima accident, Monju will be needed more than ever, if it ever succeeds in running for more than a few weeks.
Or the new generation of fast breeder reactor, to be built by Mitsubishi FBR Systems, which was set up by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in 2007. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries was selected by the government (Ministry of Education and Science, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industries) and the Federation of Electric Power Companies as the core company to develop the next generation fast breeder reactor in 2006.
There is no "free market" for the nuclear industry.
(In case you are wondering why the Ministry of Education is involved in nuclear power, it's because the Ministry absorbed the Science and Technology Agency in 2001. The Science and Technology Agency was set up as an independent agency under the Prime Minister's Office in 1956, for the express purpose of promoting nuclear energy in Japan. Its first head was Matsutaro Shoriki, "father of Japan's nuclear energy" who was also the owner of Yomiuri Shinbun and Nippon Television Network.)