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Don’t split vote, anti-nuke group says

by Masaaki Kameda

Staff Writer

The two most popular anti-nuclear candidates running for Tokyo governor should decide between them who ought to drop out of the race for the good of the movement, a group of anti-nuclear activists said Monday.

The 19-member group, led by journalist Satoshi Kamata, said they will ask former Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa and lawyer Kenji Utsunomiya, former chairman of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, to cooperate in order not to split the vote and allow a pro-nuclear candidate to win.

According to recent media surveys, former health minister Yoichi Masuzoe, effectively backed by the Liberal Democratic Party and its junior coalition partner, New Komeito, is in the lead, followed by Hosokawa and Utsunomiya.

“We have two candidates who call for phasing out nuclear power generation in this election,” Kamata said at a Tokyo press conference. “It would be a tragedy if the total number of votes received by the two candidates surpasses that of the winner.”

Kamata said he was prompted by a sense of crisis stemming from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s determination to restart idled nuclear reactors and export nuclear technology.