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information about Fukushima published in English in Japanese media info publiée en anglais dans la presse japonaise

Not everybody wants a restart

Oi town bombarded with protests after nuke reactors' restart approved



OI, Fukui -- Following the Oi Municipal Assembly's approval to restart two reactors at the Oi Nuclear Power Plant here, the municipal government has been receiving hundreds of protests against the decision, it has been learned.

As of May 16, two days after the town assembly decided by majority vote to support the central government's request to restart the No. 3 and 4 reactors of Kansai Electric Power Co.'s Oi plant, the Oi Municipal Government had received some 300 fax and e-mail messages, most of which were against the assembly's decision.

The number of protests made via telephone on May 14 alone was nearly 40, with most of them coming from residents living outside of Fukui Prefecture. In one of the phone calls, the caller spoke for over 30 minutes.

The municipal government has increased the number of night-duty staff, among other measures, to cope with the increasing queries.

The number of protests began to increase noticeably after Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yukio Edano requested the Fukui prefectural and the Oi municipal governments approve the reactors' restart on April 14.

Meanwhile, although the town assembly has approved the reactors' restart, Oi Mayor Shinobu Tokioka has not announced the town's official stance on the issue yet.

"If I say OK (to the restart of the reactors), it will mean that the Oi town residents have assisted in reaching this decision," Tokioka said during a press conference after he was informed of the town assembly's decision. "It is necessary to base my decision on careful consideration."

Part of Tokioka's reluctance to finalize the decision on the reactors' restart may be related to the opposition of other related nearby municipalities.

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