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Political opposition to nuclear power in Japan

Nuclear Conflict: Utility, Mayor Face Off in Japan WSJ, By MARI IWATA, 29 Nov 11 TOKYO—Kansai Electric Power Co. is likely to come under more pressure to reduce its use of nuclear power under new Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto.
Mr. Hashimoto won Sunday’s election after a campaign in which he pledged to lower the use of nuclear power and to split Kansai Electric in two—a power generator and a grid operator. The utility, which relies more on nuclear energy than other power companies in Japan, is
likely to resist.

But the incoming mayor, formerly governor of Osaka prefecture, has
tools to ratchet up the pressure: Osaka, Japan’s third-biggest city,
is both the largest city in Kansai Electric’s service area and the
utility’s biggest shareholder, with a stake of about 9% as of March

In a press conference after his landslide victory on Sunday, Mr.
Hashimoto said he aims to talk with other shareholders and come up
with a plan to propose at the utility’s annual shareholder meeting,
which usually takes place in June. He didn’t provide details……
Mr. Hashimoto has been accepting of the need to operate existing
nuclear power plants to avoid power outages. But he has made no secret
of his distrust of Kansai Electric and the nuclear-related industry,
which have been tainted by scandals that include data fabrication and
cover-ups of minor accidents.

Local press reports suggest differences in opinion between the new
mayor and the utility will likely develop into a serious
confrontation. Mr. Hashimoto said in several pre-election interviews
that the contest would be “a war against vested interests” including
Kansai Electric…..
Across Japan, nuclear reactors shut down for maintenance remain
offline due to safely concerns following Japan’s worst nuclear
accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. This has forced companies
like Kansai Electric to secure non-nuclear power sources.

With the outlook for the restart of the reactors unclear, Mr. Yagi
said last week that the company has been unable to issue bonds since
the March disasters.

Kansai Electric’s share price dropped by about 5% Monday and 1%
Tuesday, is down 47% from its March 11 close.

November 30, 2011 - Posted by | Japan, politics

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