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As the central government moves toward a final decision on restarting the Oi No. 3 and No. 4 reactors, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and his Cabinet find themselves in a looming showdown with popular Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto and the governors of Kyoto and Shiga prefectures, who want the reactors to remain offline for now.

In addition, despite warnings from pronuclear Tokyo bureaucrats at the Natural Resources and Energy Agency and Kansai Electric Power Co. which operates the facility in Oi, Fukui Prefecture, that the Kansai region will face electricity shortages of 20 percent or more without the reactors, there is great skepticism among local leaders, who say they have seen no convincing evidence to support such claims.

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