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> 2014-01-23 19:01:37
Japan election race resounds on nuclear keyboard
(Vatican Radio) In Tokyo, an election race for governor has taken on the appearance of a referendum on nuclear power. One front-runner says he will oppose efforts to restart power plants.
Listen to the report by Alastair Wanklyn...
Kicking off his campaign for governor, former prime minister Morihiro Hosokawa said Japan should pull the plug on nuclear power -- for ever.
Nuclear power is neither clean nor safe, he said, and there's nowhere yet to store the waste.
A recent public-opinion poll here showed twice as many people in Japan oppose nuclear power as support it, although a third said they were undecided.
All Japan's reactors are currently shut down. The government wants to fire them up, saying the country cannot afford to continue importing oil and gas. Inspectors are examining several reactors with a view to possible restarts -- a process that makes opponents feel their voices have been ignored.
But if Hosokawa becomes governor of Tokyo in the election two weeks from now, his voice will count. Tokyo is Japan's largest metropolis and it is also a major client of the Tokyo Electric Power Company, the operator of the ruined Fukushima plant.
And Hosokawa's campaign will remain high-profile. It has the backing of another prominent nuclear critic, fellow former prime minister Junichiro Koizumi.