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Panel urges Japan PM to end nuclear crisis
by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) June 25, 2011

A panel set up to advise on recovery after Japan's quake-tsunami Saturday said solving the ongoing nuclear crisis was the top priority, backing temporary tax hikes to pay for reconstruction.

But the proposals from the group, established by Prime Minister Naoto Kan, are seen as short on specifics and are also uncertain to be implemented as Kan faces pressure to step down over his handling of the March 11 catastrophe.

The 9.0-magnitude tremor and ensuing monster waves ravaged the country's northeast, leaving 23,000 people dead or missing, and left the Fukushima Daiichi plant leaking radiation from its crippled reactors.

The government said Friday the disaster destroyed buildings and infrastructure worth about $210 billion, excluding costs caused by the nuclear accident.

"People are at a loss" to think how to deal with the world's worst nuclear crisis since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, the paper from the panel said.

"It calls to our mind a similar situation in which all kinds of misfortunes befell mankind when Pandora's Box was opened," it added, referring to the Greek myth.

"The main premise of reconstruction is that the government takes responsibility for settling the nuclear plant accident as soon as possible," the experts said.

The panel called on the government to consider temporary increases in "basic taxes" -- which normally refer to income, corporate and consumption taxes -- to pay for reconstruction.

Local media said it did not specify the taxes due to widespread objections against tax rises.

The panel, led by National Defence Academy president Makoto Iokibe with world renowned architect Tadao Ando as his deputy, has 15 members including professors, novelists and prefectural governors.

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Russia finds nuclear safety faults after Fukushima
Moscow (AFP) June 23, 2011
Russia's nuclear power plants are dangerously under-prepared for earthquakes and other disasters, said a state review conducted after Japan's Fukushima accident and obtained Thursday by AFP. The unusually candid survey was presented to a council chaired by President Dmitry Medvedev on June 9 and initially reported on its website by the Oslo-based Bellona environmental organisation. Russi ... read more

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