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A referendum to decide on Hamaoka's restart?

August 28, 2012


Shizuoka governor supports idea for referendum on restart of Hamaoka nuke plant




SHIZUOKA -- Shizuoka Gov. Heita Kawakatsu has expressed his support for the establishment of an ordinance to hold a referendum over whether to restart the Hamaoka Nuclear Power Plant in the prefecture, which has been suspended following the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The move came after a citizens group called "Genpatsu Kenmin Tohyo Shizuoka" (Referendum over a nuclear plant in Shizuoka) filed a direct petition with the governor on Aug. 27, demanding the introduction of the referendum ordinance and handing him 165,127 signatures the group collected.

"Signatures of 160,000 people mean a lot. I will strive to implement the referendum," said Kawakatsu during a regular press conference that day.

The governor is expected to propose the ordinance to the Shizuoka Prefectural Assembly in September. The assembly's largest faction, Jimin Kaikaku Kaigi, and the second largest group, Minshuto Fujinokuni Kengidan, have not decided whether to approve the initiative.

"I was really surprised that the governor has upheld the ordinance as I had thought that he was against a referendum," said Nozomu Suzuki, representative of the citizens group, during a press conference following the direct petition. "I want the prefectural assembly to take the governor's decision seriously and pass the ordinance bill."

The Hamaoka nuclear plant, located in the prefectural city of Omaezaki, is the only nuclear power station run by Chubu Electric Power Co. Its operation has been suspended since May last year following the central government's request out of consideration for potential quake damage.

After the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant broke out in March 2011, citizens groups in the city of Osaka and Tokyo filed direct petitions for referendums over nuclear power, but the Osaka mayor and the Tokyo governor disapproved of the initiatives, with the Osaka Municipal Assembly and the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly voting down the ordinance bills, respectively.

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