by Linda Sieg and Yoko Kubota / via Reuters / February 17, 2012 /

Nearly a year after Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster, then-premier Naoto Kan is haunted by the specter of an even bigger crisis forcing tens of millions of people to flee Tokyo and threatening the nation’s existence.

“Having experienced the 3/11 nuclear disaster, I changed my way of thinking. The biggest factor was how at one point, we faced a situation where there was a chance that people might not be able to live in the capital zone including Tokyo and would have to evacuate,” Kan told Reuters in an interview on Friday.

“If things had reached that level, not only would the public have had to face hardships but Japan’s very existence would have been in peril.”

That convinced Kan, in office for less than a year when the March 11 triple disaster struck, to declare the need for Japan to end its reliance on atomic power and promote renewable sources of energy such solar that have long taken a back seat in the resource-poor country’s energy mix.

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