National / Politics

Vast majority of ruling bloc candidates favor rebooting reactors

Kyodo

A huge majority of those planning to run in the Dec. 14 Lower House election on the ticket of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party or its junior coalition ally, Komeito, favor restarting the nation’s idled nuclear reactors, a Kyodo News poll showed Sunday.

A total of 90.7 percent of those eyeing a run on the LDP ticket and 79.4 percent of prospective Komeito candidates said they support the reboot of reactors, which generated around 30 percent of the country’s total electricity before the 2011 triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant. All of the nation’s 48 reactors are currently offline.

Among potential candidates from the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan, 72.2 percent were opposed to bringing reactors back online. Nearly 91 percent of those planning a run with the Japan Innovation Party, the Lower House’s second-largest opposition, also opposed the restarts.

A total of 947 expected general election candidates had responded to the Kyodo questionnaire by Sunday, of whom 296 were planning to run for the Japanese Communist Party, 269 for the LDP, 162 for the DPJ and 66 for the Japan Innovation Party.

Of the overall respondents, 55.5 percent opposed restarting reactors.

In a multiple-choice question on top-priority issues, the largest group — 84.6 percent — said measures to boost the economy and create jobs was most important.

Meanwhile, nearly all potential LDP and Komeito candidates “positively evaluated” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s “Abenomics” economic policies.

Abe said last month that he was calling the snap general election to seek a fresh mandate for Abenomics, which features aggressive monetary easing, fiscal spending and structural reform.

Some observers and analysts have described Abe’s decision to dissolve the Diet as a cynical ploy to consolidate power while opposition forces remain in disarray.

Prospective candidates from the Party for Future Generations, the third-largest opposition party, were divided on Abenomics, but a large number of expected candidates from other opposition parties had a low opinion of the prime minister’s economic policies.

On the Abe Cabinet’s decision to allow Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense, 98.1 percent of prospective LDP candidates and 82.4 percent planning to run for Komeito supported it.

Many of those planning to run for the DPJ and the Japan Innovation Party opposed the Cabinet decision.

Of the overall respondents, 55.4 percent insisted that the government should revise the pacifist Constitution instead of merely reinterpreting it through a Cabinet decision. the move enables Japan to defend allies under armed attack even if it is not threatened.

On the controversial secrecy law, which is set to take effect Dec. 10, a large majority of those planning to run for both the LDP and Komeito said they had no problems with the current legislation.

When respondents from other parties are added, 58.3 percent said they either think the law should be scrapped or revised to protect the public’s right to know.

The LDP and Komeito held a two-thirds majority in the 480-seat Lower House before it was dissolved on Nov. 21. Candidates will vie for 475 seats in the upcoming election, after the number of seats is reduced as part of measures to address vote-value disparities.