It is as if the government is not involved at all, and Minister Motegi is simply dispensing a piece of advice. Quite fitting for this former McKinsey consultant.
TEPCO wants to restart Kashiwazaki-Kariwa, as the company is bleeding to death unless Fukushima decommissioning is somehow separated from the core business of generating electricity. The company is told by the national government, its largest shareholder, to win consensus from the parties involved, including the governor of Niigata.
Governor Hirohiko Izumida of Niigata Prefecture wants to delay the restart until safety is assured (which will never happen, as there is no 100% safety), but he has no legal or regulatory authority over the plant; he doesn't have a say in the new regulatory guidelines by Nuclear Regulatory Authority.
Kashiwazaki City and Kariwa-mura want to have the plant restarted, as their economy depends heavily on the plant. They have just agreed to TEPCO's submitting the application to Nuclear Regulatory Authority.
There are Nuclear Regulatory Authority and Nuclear Regulatory Agency under the Ministry of the Environment that do the risk assessment, and there is Agency for Natural Resources and Energy under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry that promotes nuclear energy, and there is the Ministry of Education and Science that oversees some of the nuclear operators in Japan. Prime Minister Abe is busy top-selling Japanese-made (and probably Japanese-operated) nuclear reactors and plants.
No one in charge.
From Jiji Tsushin (8/2/2013):
Confirmation of safety "ASAP" for TEPCO's Kashiwazaki-Kariwa NPP, says Minister of Economy Motegi
During the press conference after the August 2 cabinet meeting, Toshmitsu Motegi, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry referred to the application for safety evaluation for Reactors 6 and 7 at TEPCO's Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant (in Niigata Prefecture) and said, "It is desirable from the viewpoint of confirming safety that the evaluation by Nuclear Regulatory Authority will be done solidly and promptly", indicating his understanding that the application needs to be submitted soon.
Governor of Niigata Hirohiko Izumida is strongly offended that TEPCO has decided to apply for the evaluation. Minister Motegi said, "It is necessary for the parties concerned to talk things out first. Then, it is important to make effort in obtaining the understanding of the municipalities with the nuclear plant for the restart."
Mr. Motegi, you and your ministry as well as your boss, PM Abe, are one of the "parties concerned".