“We are determined to make further efforts to restore people’s trust in nuclear policy and safety regulations.”
As Japan’s 50 working reactors were shuttered because of either safety concerns or routine maintenance checks, officials in host communities formed a stiff resistance against any restart orders. Many charged that Tokyo had done too little to reform its discredited nuclear regulatory system or break up the traditional cozy ties between government and utility companies. In early May, a final nuclear reactor on the northern island of Hokkaido came offline, and Japan, briefly, was nuclear free.
Though Japan is not required by law to have local approval for nuclear restarts, such consent has long been a de facto prerequisite. Public opposition remains massive. Specifically at Ohi, 71 percent said they were against a “hasty” restart at the plant, according to a survey conducted by the Mainichi newspaper earlier this month. Friday night, several thousand protested outside the prime minister’s office, yelling, “We oppose the restart!” (Wash Post, 6/16/202)