SHIMONOSEKI (majirox news) — Kaminoseki Mayor Shigemi Kashiwabara, a strong supporter of nuclear power generation, was reelected Sept. 25 with an overwhelming victory in Japan’s first local election in a nuclear reactor district since the Fukushima nuclear crisis broke out in March.
The 1,868 votes cast for Kashiwabara to give him a third term in office were almost double the 963 votes for Sadao Yamato, an independent running against him on a campaign of opposition to nuclear power generation.
Chugoku Electric Power Co. is planning to build a nuclear reactor in Kaminoseki and the election had focused on the issue of whether voters should support or oppose nuclear power generation.
Kashiwabara, 62, ran a campaign openly supportive of nuclear power generation, telling voters that without the money the nuclear power industry supplied the town it had little other source of revenue and the plant was needed for survival.
Yamato had argued that the town should not be built to survive around a nuclear reactor especially with the radiation-leaking Fukushima Daiichi still not yet under control more than six months since it went into meltdown.
Voters overwhelming supported the pro-nuclear power generation candidate, though turnout of 87.55% was the lowest on record.
Kaminoseki was first proposed as the site of a nuclear power plant in 1982. Nine mayoral elections have since been held in the town with a pro-nuclear candidate winning on each occasion.
Victory to a pro-nuclear candidate in this election, even in a staunchly pro-nuclear electorate, is expected to influence how the national government shapes future nuclear power generation policies.