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On first day in office, new Niigata governor again rejects early reactor restart

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Gov. Ryuichi Yoneyama receives flowers on his first day in office Tuesday at the Niigata Prefectural Government office in the city of Niigata

NIIGATA – On his first day in office, Niigata Gov. Ryuichi Yoneyama reiterated his opposition to an early restart of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant.

“I can’t discuss (the matter) while the investigation is still in progress,” Yoneyama told a news conference Tuesday, referring to the probe into the March 2011 meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant.

“I can’t accept a resumption of the plant’s operation under what I understand as the current situation,” he said.

Having never before held public office, Yoneyama won a landslide victory on Oct. 16. His campaign stressed his negative stance toward the restart of the power plant that straddles the village of Kariwa and the city of Kashiwazaki.

Operated by Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., it is the biggest nuclear power plant in the world.

Supported by three opposition parties — the Japanese Communist Party, the Social Democratic Party and the Liberal Party — Yoneyama defeated a candidate backed by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner Komeito.

At his inaugural news conference, Yoneyama expressed his intention to “thoroughly investigate” the Fukushima crisis.

He referred to Tepco’s failure to quickly disclose the meltdowns at Fukushima No. 1, which a joint committee of the Niigata Prefectural Government and the company is currently investigating.

The matter will be “scrutinized to an extent at which guidelines to judge (nuclear plant) safety can be drawn up,” Yoneyama said, expressing his hope of hashing out a conclusion by the end of his four-year term.

He said he hopes to hold talks with the central government and Tepco soon on the possible restart. “It’s important to confirm each other’s positions,” he observed.

At a news conference in Tokyo, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said there is no change in the central government’s policy of pursuing a restart of any reactor that has passed a Nuclear Regulation Authority safety examination.

“We hope to secure local support while listening sufficiently to the new governor,” Suga said.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/10/25/national/first-day-office-new-niigata-governor-rejects-early-reactor-restart/#.WBBIhlCNSJx.facebook

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October 27, 2016 - Posted by | Japan | , ,

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