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91% of Japanese want Gov't intervention - Mainichi poll

August 26, 2013



 91 percent of Japanese want gov't to step in at Fukushima nuke plant: Mainichi poll



Some 91 percent of Japanese believe that the national government should play a larger role in dealing with the contaminated water leaks at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, a Mainichi poll has found.

The government has already announced plans to commit funds to dealing with the massive leaks, in which hundreds of metric tons of radioactive substance-contaminated water are thought to have leaked into the ground and seeped into the ocean. The Aug. 24-25 nationwide poll shows, however, that many people across Japan do not trust plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) to competently carry out leak countermeasures and other cleanup operations on its own.

Public doubts have emerged after repeated signs of TEPCO mismanagement at the Fukushima plant, including using recycled tanks to hold toxic water. At least one of those tanks is thought to have leaked some 300 tons of contaminated water.

On other major issues, 68 percent of respondents told the Mainichi that they thought Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's decision to forgo a visit to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine on Aug. 15 -- the 68th anniversary of the end of World War II -- was appropriate. Just 25 percent of respondents disagreed with Abe's decision. Even among respondents who said they actively support the Abe Cabinet, 73 percent said they believed Abe was right not to visit the shrine where Class A war criminals are enshrined along with Japan's war dead -- virtually identical to the 74 percent of respondents who said they did not support the Cabinet.

Meanwhile, on Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso's July comments referencing Nazi Germany in connection with Japan's current constitutional reform debate, 54 percent of respondents said the gaffe had "worsened" Japan's image in the world, while 1 percent said it had actually bettered Japan's image.

When asked what Japan's opposition parties should focus on with the governing Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito now in firm control of both houses of the Diet, 42 percent of respondents said they should "concentrate on rebuilding," while 25 percent said they should "get themselves in order to create a powerful opposition force." In fact, some opposition parties are now attempting to reorganize to better oppose the LDP. The poll numbers suggest, however, that most voters would rather see them steady their own footing before going after the governing parties.

Among respondents backing the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) -- which lost a staggering number of seats in both the last House of Representatives and House of Councillors elections -- about half said the party should focus on rebuilding, as against some 30 percent who wanted the DPJ to join hands with other opposition parties to go on the political offensive.


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