According to a recent newspaper survey, just over half of the cities in Japan that host nuclear power plants are in support of the reactors being restarted, as long as their safety is assured by the government. All but two of the country’s nuclear plants remain offline after the March 2011 Fukushima disaster. Any and all restarts are to first be approved by the recently formed Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA).
The Yomiuri Shimbun’s survey shows that 54% of the 135 communities hosting nuclear plants would approve of restarts. 28% of the respondents did not express their position, while only 18% said they would not support the reactivation of plants. These results are somewhat opposed to the overall Japanese public’s opposition of nuclear power, fueled by the Fukushima disaster and poor response of the government at the time. But the true motivating factor in these nuclear-hosting cities is the economic situation, where most of the population is employed by the local power utilities, and there is little way for the community to thrive without the reactors in operation and thus making money.
While most of the public remains in support of ending or significantly reducing Japan’s use of nuclear power, the recently elected Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has stated intentions of restarting the idled reactors that are deemed safe by the NRA, as well as even building new power plants in the future. Unfortunately for the public, Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has been seen as playing a significant part in the Fukushima disaster by promoting a culture of complicity during its five decades of uninterrupted rule.