Moves by businesses and citizens to set up renewable energy plants at the regional level have been spreading in the hope of breaking away from nuclear power in light of the man-made disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 plant triggered by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

In the city of Odawara, Kanagawa Prefecture, Houtoku Energy Co. has been set up by 38 small and midsize companies, including a "kamaboko" fish sausage maker and a fish market.

"After the March 11 disaster, I thought (continuing to rely on nuclear plants) won't work anymore. Besides, when there is no place to abandon nuclear waste, setting up nuclear plants is just like building apartments without toilets," Houtoku Energy President Takeo Minomiya said.