Despite the catastrophe at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, the issue of nuclear power has been given lower priority in the runup to the Dec. 16 Lower House election. But the launch of a new party, Nippon Mirai no To (Japan Future Party), by Gov. Yukiko Kada of Shiga Prefecture, a veteran environmental studies scholar, will not only help deepen discussions on the subject but also offer a concrete option for voters who are concerned about the problems posed by nuclear power. The new party’s main theme is “graduation from nuclear power generation,” meaning the eventual abolition of all of Japan’s nuclear power reactors.

More than 20 months have passed since the Fukushima nuclear disaster began. But some 160,000 local residents still cannot return to their homes for the foreseeable future, and decontamination of areas polluted by radioactive substances is making little progress. Fifty nuclear power plants are scattered across this quake-prone country and nuclear waste storages at individual plants do not have much room to store additional waste.

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