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A recent decision by the Fukushima Prefectural Assembly to hike a local tax on nuclear power operators may inspire other prefectures to follow suit, a high-ranking ministry official warned Monday.

“It is not an issue of Fukushima Prefecture alone,” said Katsusada Hirose, vice minister of the Economy, Trade and Industry. “If other prefectures start to compete with it and each other in such a tax, that would impede the national nuclear policy.”

The prefectural government’s decision to raise the tax is problematic, he said, as the sole payer, Tokyo Electric Power Co., was left out of the process.

The Fukushima Prefectural Assembly unanimously voted Friday for the proposed hike in the effective tax rate.

The local government hopes the tax increase will take effect Nov. 10, pending approval by the Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications Ministry.

Hirose said his ministry plans to take issue with the plan, saying, “We will strive to inform the home affairs ministry about our concerns.”

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