TOKYO, July 15 (UPI) -- Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan's move to phase out nuclear power is being roundly criticized even by those who share the goal, officials say.
Kan said at a news conference Wednesday the Fukushima disaster convinced him the risks of nuclear power are too great, but he gave no timetable or details for ending it, The Asahi Shimbun reports.
"A prime minister usually has a number of discussions before he gives a news conference over such an idea, but we had none," said a senior official at the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy.
Former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, a fellow member of Kan's Democratic Party of Japan, said abandoning nuclear power "is a right direction, but the timetable for realizing it is ambiguous."
"Unless he presents a road map to a Japan free from nuclear plants, his act will amount to populism," said Shigeru Ishiba of the opposition Liberal Democrats.
Kan promised in June he would quit after enough progress has been made in recovering from the March 11 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident, but critics say he is delaying to hang onto power.
A recent Asahi Shimbun poll found 77 percent of Japanese supporting a nuclear phaseout but only 15 percent backing Kan's Cabinet.