Political instability in Japan, as anti nuclear sentiment grows
Nuclear energy wild card in Japan poll which Democrats likely to lose Asahi Shimbun REUTERS 4 Aug 12, Growing Japanese opposition to nuclear energy after the Fukushima disaster will be a wild card in a general election many expect within months, but politicians on both sides of the aisle agree on one thing: the Democratic Party is likely to fall from power just three years after its historic landslide win….
….Whatever the timing, the DPJ risks facing an anti-nuclear backlash as protests grow against Noda’s decision to restart two atomic reactors to avoid blackouts, despite
safety fears after an earthquake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima nuclear plant in March 2011 the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986…….
Which parties would benefit, though, is unclear. The Democrats’ main
rival, the LDP, promoted atomic power during decades of dominance and
only the tiny Social Democrats, the Communist Party and a DPJ splinter
group led by ex-party leader Ichiro Ozawa are clearly against ending
nuclear power soon.
Populist Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, whose Ishin no Kai (Restoration
Group) local party is eyeing a national role, had to backtrack on an
early anti-nuclear stance when he signed off on nuclear reactor
restarts to avoid possible summer blackouts.
“I’m sure a bunch of people will vote against nuclear power no matter
what, but how many are willing to go that far (to vote for the Social
Democrats, Communists or Ozawa’s new group)?” said Steven Reed, a
political science professor at Chuo University in Tokyo. “They’ve
never been given a proper option.”….. WOBBLY COALITION?
Predicting the election is tough given Japan’s fragmented political
scene, where new parties are springing up like mushrooms as voter
disaffection with mainstream groups grows.
That public disaffection was apparent even in the rural conservative
stronghold of Yamaguchi, western Japan, where an anti-nuclear
candidate came in a strong second to an LDP old guard rival in an
election for governor July 29…..
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