Indonesia leader in Japan sceptical of nuclear power

Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on a visit to disaster-hit Japan Friday voiced reservations about plans to build a nuclear power plant in his country, media reports said.

Yudhoyono also expressed sympathy with Japan, pointing out that both island nations, located on the seismically active Pacific Rim of Fire, had recently suffered devastating earthquakes and deadly tsunamis.

Indonesia has had plans to build its first atomic plant to go into operation in about a decade to help it meet rising energy demand fuelled by high economic growth in the world's most populous Muslim nation.

However, in separate interviews with Japanese news agencies, Yudhoyono suggested that Indonesia would not move towards nuclear power under his second term, which runs until 2014, Kyodo News agency said.

"If we could build energy sources other than a nuclear energy plant, we will choose those kinds of energy sources," he was quoted as saying by Kyodo, adding that atomic power is "very much debatable".

Speaking with Jiji Press about Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster, he said: "We can never say that the same thing won't happen in Indonesia, which is prone to earthquakes.

"We'd better explore ways to use other energy sources before building nuclear power plants."

He also told Kyodo that Indonesia was willing to consider alternative energies such as geothermal, solar and hydroelectric power, while moving to limit the use of oil and coal in the long run.

In deciding on whether to go nuclear, his government would consider all factors, including the degree of public support.

In an earlier speech in Tokyo, Yudhoyono spoke of the way his country, having been hardest hit by the 2004 Asian tsunami, shared Japan's pain after its worst post-war catastrophe on March 11.

"We in Indonesia know exactly how you feel," Yudhoyono said in a speech at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies.

"The pain, the emotional pain, will be with us for quite some time. Feelings of sorrow, sadness and even helplessness will overwhelm you. Give yourself a moment to cry," the president said in his speech.

Yudhoyono was Saturday due to visit disaster areas hit by the quake and tsunami that left more than 23,000 people dead or missing.

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko thanked the Indonesian president for his country sending rescue workers and aid after the disaster.

The president said "the Indonesian people and the government still have gratitude for assistance from Japan" during the 2004 tsunami. "I am convinced that the Japanese people will definitely recover from the disaster."

  • How a mom stole a car in under 60 seconds 11 hours ago
    How a mom stole a car in under 60 seconds

    “I didn't steal your car but I think my mom may have. It's a long story. I'll explain, but your car is safe and sound," read the flier posted in Red Hook, Brooklyn. It’s a strange tale that began when Cheyrl Thorpe was asked by her daughter Nekisia Davis to dog sit her Pomeranian at her apartment, according to New York Magazine.

  • All-new 2015 Subaru Outback reestablishes higher ground 13 hours ago
    All-new 2015 Subaru Outback reestablishes higher ground

    Much of Subaru’s modern day success in America can be attributed to one car: the Outback. Born in 1994 as a response to the growing popularity of SUVs, the Outback established a winning formula of combining a high-riding suspension, butch body cladding and big round fog lights to its comfortable, no-nonsense Legacy wagon. It is the kind of unique product that only a quirky company like Subaru could build, and was one that kept Subaru from slipping into ubiquity even as traditional SUVs and crossovers have taken over the world.

  • Custom faux-tique electric tram aims to replace New York's horses over the neigh-sayers 14 hours ago
    Custom faux-tique electric tram aims to replace New York's horses over the neigh-sayers

    For the record, it's the year 2014. I mention that in case someone reading this story about a push to replace horses with motorized carriages thinks they've stumbled onto some archival piece by accident. It's been more than 100 years since the first vehicles began to trundle around Manhattan, but the last remaining vestiges of horse-powered transport in the city could be nigh — if the backers of a massive electric wagon get their way.

  • Singaporeans slam NEA's $120 licence requirement for tissue sellers
    Singaporeans slam NEA's $120 licence requirement for tissue sellers

    Singaporeans on social media reacted angrily to news that tissue sellers at hawker centres and street corners are being required to pay for an annual licence.

  • Heartbreaking texts from students on sinking S. Korea ferry
    Heartbreaking texts from students on sinking S. Korea ferry

    Heart-wrenching messages of fear, love and despair, sent by high school students from a sinking South Korean ferry, added extra emotional weight Thursday to a tragedy that has stunned the nation. Nearly 300 people -- most of them students on a high school trip to a holiday island -- are still missing after the ferry capsized and sank on Wednesday morning. Mom, I love you," student Shin Young-Jin said in a text to his mother that was widely circulated in the South Korean media.

  • ‘Huge’ Hindu, Buddhist statues against Islam, ex-judge says
    ‘Huge’ Hindu, Buddhist statues against Islam, ex-judge says

    KUALA LUMPUR, April 16 — The “huge” statues at a Hindu temple in Batu Caves and Buddhist temple in Penang are an affront to Islam as the religion forbids idolatry, a retired Court of Appeals judge...