SHIZUOKA--A citizens group in Shizuoka Prefecture said it collected about 108,000 signatures calling for a local referendum on whether the idled reactors of the Hamaoka nuclear power plant should be restarted.
"The number has far exceeded the minimum requirement," said Nozomu Suzuki, leader of the civil group Genpatsu Kenmin Tohyo Shizuoka (Prefectural referendum on nuclear power in Shizuoka), on July 12. "That represents the Shizuokans' desire to speak out on their own."
If certified, the number will greatly exceed 62,000, or one-50th of all eligible voters in the prefecture, which are required to directly petition Governor Heita Kawakatsu to draft an ordinance to the prefectural assembly for consideration.
The Hamaoka nuclear plant lies in Omaezaki, Shizuoka Prefecture, an area of high seismic risk. All nuclear reactors of the Hamaoka plant went offline in May last year at the request of Naoto Kan, the prime minister at the time.
The signatures were collected in a campaign that ran from May 13 through July 11. They will be submitted to the election administration commissions of cities, wards and towns across the prefecture on July 23. The number of signatures will be finalized only after screening to ensure they are from registered voters.
In Tokyo, a similar petition drive on the future of nuclear power plants collected 320,000 signatures to put the issue on the ballot. But the Tokyo metropolitan assembly on June 20 voted 2-1 to reject the draft ordinance.
That followed the rejection of a similar petition in March by the Osaka city assembly.
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