Japan says it needs nuclear power. Will the Host Cities be able to trust it again?

“Honestly, I was very scared,” she said. Business leaders and workers whose livelihoods depend on the plant warn that if it doesn’t come...


“Honestly, I was very scared,” she said.

Business leaders and workers whose livelihoods depend on the plant warn that if it doesn’t come back online, the area will deteriorate, like many Japanese rural communities experiencing high population decline. Currently around 5,500 people work to maintain the idle plant, although employment would likely increase if it reopened.

Many local residents work in the factory or know friends and family who do. “I think there are more people who understand the need for the plant,” said Masaaki Komuro, general manager of Niigata Kankyo Service, a plant maintenance contractor.

Public polls present a more blurred picture. According to a 2020 survey by the city of Kashiwazaki, nearly 20% of residents want to dismantle the plant immediately. About 40% would accept the temporary operation of certain reactors, but would eventually like the plant to be closed. Slightly more than half of residents in the prefecture oppose a nuclear restart, according to a 2021 survey by Niigata Nippo, a local newspaper.

Public mistrust will be tested in a gubernatorial election this month in Niigata Prefecture. Current governor Hideyo Hanazumi, 63, is backed by the ruling Liberal Democrats but has been vague about his restart intentions. His challenger, Naomi Katagiri, a 72-year-old architect, promises to block the resumption of operations in Kashiwazaki and Kariwa.

The stakes are high as unwritten government policy compels local political leaders to ratify nuclear restarts. Kariwa Mayor Hiroo Shinada, 65, is a strong supporter, while Kashiwazaki Mayor Masahiro Sakurai, 60, invests in wind power but would support the temporary operation of some reactors.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Japan says it needs nuclear power. Will the Host Cities be able to trust it again?
Japan says it needs nuclear power. Will the Host Cities be able to trust it again?
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