Two-thirds of local and prefectural leaders want Japan’s reliance on nuclear power reduced or ended


About two-thirds of the heads of prefectural, city, ward, town and village governments want Japan to reduce its reliance on nuclear power generation or scrap it altogether.

In a survey about plans for the nation s future energy policy conducted before the fifth anniversary of the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, 44.6 percent of these governments sought cuts in Japan s dependence on nuclear power and 21 percent requested the eventual abolishment of nuclear power generation.

Many cited concerns about the safety of nuclear power and the disposal of waste.

The survey revealed a cautious attitude on nuclear power among local authorities even as the central government pushes for the restart of reactors shut down since the disaster, having set a target last year of between 20 and 22 percent of the country s power to be generated by nuclear plants in 2030.

The survey was sent to every local authority, of which 1,782, or 99.6 percent, responded.

The mayor of Kashiwazaki, Niigata Prefecture, home to the massive Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant, was among the respondents calling for the complete elimination of nuclear power.

Twenty-five respondents, including those from areas hosting nuclear plants, disagreed, saying nuclear power is necessary to bridge the shortage of energy resources and to combat global warming. They called for an increase in Japan s reliance on nuclear power.

Although 19.3 percent of the respondents avoided giving a clear answer on how much they plan to rely on nuclear power, many said they look forward to widespread use of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind.

Among the governors, eight said they want nuclear power in Japan to be scrapped. Seven of them represent prefectures bordering those hosting nuclear plants.

Yamagata Gov. Mieko Yoshimura, one of the seven, aired concerns that nuclear accidents could affect large areas and lead to the displacement of many people.

Of the 13 governors of prefectures hosting nuclear plants, Saga Gov. Yoshinori Yamaguchi expressed hope that reliance on nuclear power will be reduced in the medium to long term, while Niigata Gov. Hirohiko Izumida said an investigation into the Fukushima accident is  indispensable. Others said energy policy should be the responsibility of the central government.

A total of 831 respondents, or 46.6 percent, said they have been reviewing their disaster response plans to include preparations for nuclear accidents.