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A matter of trust

Asahi poll: 80% distrust government's nuke safety measures

March 13, 2012 - http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201203130031

A whopping 80 percent of people in Japan do not trust the government's safety measures for nuclear power plants.

The results are from a nationwide random telephone survey of 3,360 people conducted by The Asahi Shimbun on March 10-11. It received 1,892 valid responses.

Fifty-seven percent of the respondents said they are opposed to restarting nuclear reactors currently off line for regular maintenance, compared to the 27 percent in favor.

A gap between genders was conspicuous over whether to restart the reactors. Although men were almost evenly split, with 47 percent against and 41 percent in favor, 67 percent of women are opposed, compared with just 15 percent who support the restarts.

With only two reactors currently online among the 54 in the country, 75 percent of the respondents were “greatly concerned” or “somewhat concerned” about the possibility of economic impacts from the suspension of reactors. But just 31 percent of those respondents supported the restarts, while 54 percent were opposed.

Regarding the government’s safety steps for nuclear plants, 52 percent said they “do not trust so much,” and 28 percent said they “do not trust at all.” Although the government has been proceeding with computer-simulated stress tests on reactors, which are necessary steps to reactivate them, people apparently have a deep distrust of the government's nuclear safety provisions.

Asked about Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s plans to increase electricity rates for households, an overwhelming 79 percent said that is “unacceptable,” while 17 percent said it is “acceptable.” In TEPCO’s service area, an even higher 83 percent said it is “unacceptable.”

Meanwhile, the support rate for the Cabinet of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda was 27 percent, unchanged from the previous poll in February, while 48 percent disapproved.


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