Nearly one-third of the nation’s local assemblies, including those at the prefectural level, have submitted statements calling for the abolition of nuclear power plants to the Diet since the Fukushima crisis in 2011, according to a study by The Asahi Shimbun.
Most of such statements by 455 assemblies were adopted in prefectures that share borders with prefectures hosting nuclear power plants. The declarations called for a sweeping change in the nation’s energy policy, and a large number also advocate a significant increase in renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power.
The Kochi municipal assembly in Kochi Prefecture demanded a “review of dependence on nuclear power plants whose safety is not established,” while the Kunitachi municipal assembly in Tokyo pressed for a “switch to a society not relying on nuclear power.”
The Fukaya municipal assembly in Saitama Prefecture went further, calling for an “immediate halt to nuclear power generation.”
The results of the study showed that nuclear power generation could emerge as a central issue in local elections like the Feb. 9 Tokyo gubernatorial race, campaigning for which kicks off Jan. 23. Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, serves Tokyo and neighboring prefectures in the Kanto region.
According to the local autonomy law, a local assembly can adopt a statement representing an opinion on issues to get it reflected in national policy.
Such a statement is submitted to the government or the Diet, although it is not legally binding.
According to the secretariat at the Upper House, the Diet has received 1,475 statements on the energy issue since the accident occurred at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant in March 2011.
The Asahi Shimbun tallied the submissions, excluding those related to compensation for evacuees and leaks of contaminated water at the plant.
With 54, Hokkaido topped the nation’s 47 prefectures in terms of the number of local assemblies adopting an official position.
Prefectures neighboring Fukushima Prefecture also had high numbers, with Yamagata, 25; Tochigi, 22; and Ibaraki, 19.
In Kochi Prefecture, 23 local assemblies, or more than half of the total, passed such statements. The prefecture is located next to Ehime Prefecture, which hosts Shikoku Electric Power Co.’s Ikata nuclear power plant in Ikata.
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