Naoto Kan meets the Jones family© Julian Wynne

A former Japanese prime minister has visited Anglesey, north Wales, where he met a farmer who is refusing to sell his land to a firm that wants to build a nuclear reactor on the isle.

Naoto Kan was in charge of Japan at the time of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, which resulted in large radiation leaks.

Japanese firm Hitachi is planning to build a £8bn nuclear plant near the existing Wylfla power station on the island as part of a 20-year UK government infrastructure spending plan.

See also: How farmers can avoid being bulldozed by infrastructure firms

Mr Jones, who runs Caerdegog Farm near Llanfechell, said Hitachi had bought about 404ha (1,000 acres) of land in the area and have demolished 20 properties to use to build the site.

However, Mr Jones is refusing to sell 26ha (65 acres) of his farmland at any price.

“There is no money in the world they could offer me that would force me to change my mind. We won’t be going anywhere,” he said.

“I’m dead against it. My family has been farming here more than 300 years. We want to preserve the heritage of the place.

“I’m dead against it. My family has been farming here more than 300 years. We want to preserve the heritage of the place.” Dairy farmer Richard Jones

“Until nuclear power is 100% safe, if there is the slightest bit of doubt, we should source our energy in other ways.”

During his four-day visit, speaking through a translator, Mr Kan was asked about the impact of Fukushima on farming and food production.

“The direct and indirect effects on food production have been substantial,” said the ex-Japanese PM.

“Areas have been totally lost for food production. In addition, consumer confidence in food from surrounding areas is severely hit and that’s very evident.

“Depending on the area that a nuclear power plant is put, it will have the same effect in the UK if there is a similar incident.”

During his visit, Mr Kan told people on Anglesey that the impact of the Fukushima disaster could have been much greater, with the possibility of 50m people (40% of the population of Japan) having to be evacuated permanently from a 250km exclusion zone.

Mr Kan believes the Fukushima disaster should be a lesson to other countries. He is concerned that Japanese companies, such as Hitachi, are seeking to build reactors outside of Japan where there is growing opposition to the technology.   

Horizon Nuclear Power is the UK energy company developing the nuclear reactor on Anglesey.

The company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi, plans to provide at least 5,400MW of new power station capacity to the UK, enough to power about 10m homes.

Proposals for the Anglesey nuclear development

Horizon Nuclear Power says its projects will create up to 1,000 permanent jobs at each of its sites at Wylfa and Oldbury and potentially up to 8,500 jobs.

The company claims the investment “will boost the country’s low carbon power supplies and help develop local skills and new prospects for British suppliers”.

Horizon Nuclear Power has sent an open letter to Mr Kan, saying the project will be “delivered safely”.

In the letter, Alan Raymant, CEO of Horizon Nuclear Power, writes: “A repeat on Anglesey of the natural conditions that led to the Fukushima accident is not a credible possibility due to the absence of major seismic or tsunami risk.

“But we, and the UK regulators, are taking valuable lessons from that event to enhance safety even further.

“We are privileged to enjoy support from governments and elected representatives in Anglesey and in Wales more widely, from the local community and from the future workforce.

“But we are in no doubt that this support relies on clearly demonstrating that safety and security are at the core of what we do.

“We will not flinch from honest debate about nuclear power, but we remain determined to deliver Wylfa Newydd safely and to the benefit of the community.”