An employee of a taxi company based in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture refused their services to House of Representative’s member Masatoshi Akimoto. The employee was found to have refused the taxi service on account of the Liberal Democratic Party member’s stance against nuclear power.
Reports say that Akimoto’s secretary called the company on January 7 to make a reservation for the legislator. Akimoto wanted to hire a taxi that would bring him around the city to visit the nuclear plant located there sometime later this month. The company official discovered the lawmaker’s position in support of ending the use of nuclear power via the internet. The same official called the legislator’s office to say that their company cannot offer its services to one who is against nuclear power, for the reason that many people working at the Tsuruga Nuclear Power Plant and Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor use their taxis. The taxi company has since apologized to the legislator, saying that their employee acted on his own judgment and does not represent the company’s view on the matter of nuclear power. The company released a statement saying that, “it is not their policy to refuse to take reservations” and admitted that there was a “lack of guidance for employees.” The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism’s Chubu District Transport Bureau in Nagoya already called the attention of the company to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.
Akimoto is a known advocate of ending Japan’s reliance on nuclear power. He also pushes for Japan to withdraw from the nuclear fuel cycle program. Tsuruga’s economy, which relies heavily on nuclear power, has already declined following the deactivation of the nuclear facilities and reactor located there. The Nuclear Regulation Authority has already said that the nuclear plant is located above an active fault line, while the Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor has had numerous problems involving equipment inspection, and as such does not seem to be reactivated in the near future.