Officials in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture, attempting to promote their city as a tourist destination, received a rude shock recently when a survey showed its image was less one of natural beauty and fresh seafood and more one of being a center for nuclear power.

In fact Tsuruga is home to two of Japan's commercial nuclear power plants (one of which is due to be decommissioned), and the controversial Monju fast-breeder reactor (which will also be scrapped). Further, the city is a major center for nuclear power research and has public facilities dedicated to extolling the virtues and safety of technology.

Officials are concerned, however, that without an effective strategy for convincing tourists to historic spots like Kanazawa to come to Tsuruga as well, trains on the extended Hokuriku Shinkansen Line set to be completed in six years will be empty.