The last week saw Japan's new prime minister promise to reconsider plans to abandon nuclear power, and new statistics indicate travelers visited the country last year at levels near those before the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Recent developments related to the accidents at the Tokyo Electric Power Co. plant include:

Abe Reconsiders Nuclear Power Ban

Fukushima desalination system leak. Source: TEPCOOn Thursday, newly elected Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said his government would discuss whether the country should allow construction of new nuclear plants, representing a departure from the previous administration's policy that would phase out the technolgy. The Yomiuri Shimbun reported that Abe said decisions on restarting existing plants would be based on scientific and safety criteria. Earlier this week he also said that his government will reduce the proportion of nuclear power generation in the country, but that it would also review the past administration's nuclear power strategy and recommend a new energy policy in the coming years.

Travel Nears Pre-Earthquake Levels

Nearly 8.4 million people visited Japan last year, which is within 3 percent of the record set in 2010. Quoting the Japan National Tourism Organization, the Asahi Shimbun reported that travel to the island nation increased 34.6 percent over 2011, when the devastating earthquake and tsunami killed thousands and blacked out Fukushima Daiichi, prompting fears of radiation exposure.

Photo: Early Wednesday morning, a worker found a water leak in a pump safety valve within a Fukushima desalination system. The leak, estimated to be about 30 liters, was stopped and the radioactive water confined to the building. Source: TEPCO