Petition ready for Tepco nuke vote


A citizens’ group seeking a referendum on abolishing Tepco’s nuclear power plants said Thursday it has collected enough signatures to ask the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to hold a plebiscite.

The group said it has collected about 250,000 signatures since Dec. 10, far more than the legally required minimum of 214,000 necessary to ask the metro government to hold a referendum.

The group, Let’s Decide Together/Citizen-initiated National Referendum on Nuclear Power, will now submit the signatures to electoral committees in each municipality in Tokyo, including ward offices, for verification.

If the committees confirm that more than one-fiftieth of valid signatures are from eligible voters, the group will ask Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara to submit an ordinance at the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly calling for a referendum on Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s nuclear reactors.

If a majority of assembly members support the ordinance, a referendum would be held.

Under the proposed ordinance, all Tokyo residents aged 16 or above, including permanent foreign residents, would be asked to vote on whether to allow Tepco to continue operating nuclear plants in its service area.

The group has also been campaigning in the city of Osaka and has collected about 55,400 valid signatures, enough to call on the city to hold a similar referendum.