Japan plans to set up a new atomic safety regulator under the Environment Ministry to monitor and frame tougher safety standards for nuclear power operators.

The new environment agency will be formed by merging the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency with another government advisory body.

The move has been made in response to the power crisis at the quake-hit Fukushima nuclear power plant.

The regulatory agency will be headed by the environment minister and will be responsible for nuclear accident investigations.

Nuclear Crisis Minister Goshi Hosono intends to implement plans for a regulator agency as early as next April, subject to the approval from parliament.