12/14/2012, 00.00
JAPAN
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Tokyo, elections revolve on no to nuclear power

by Pino Cazzaniga
The elections on December 16. All candidates had to address the issue of fear of nuclear power after the Fukushima disaster. It was starting point for campaign. All candidates are in favor of its elimination, but with some ambiguity from Shinzo Abe, the almost certain winner.

Tokyo (AsiaNews) - Sunday, December 16 the Japanese people go to the polls to decide the future of the nation on a subject of the utmost gravity: whether or not to maintain nuclear nuclear energy production. Normally it is a national event, but the stakes are such that its outcome could affect international order.

Intelligent, honest and courageous decision

On 16 November, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda (pictured second from left.) dissolved the lower house, more than a year before its mandate ended, and announced elections: the election campaign officially began on December 4 . Thanks to the press to television channels and rallies the nation seems to have become a huge lecture hall: politicians and critics in the role of professors, men and women from the cities, towns and villages of the country in the role of students. The ordinary Japanese, despite being jealous and respectful of the hierarchical structure of their nation, are also aware that in the general elections they are the protagonists.

Analysts expressing popular opinion consider Noda's sudden decision intelligent, honest, and brave. Intelligent because he realized the weakening of the political power; honest because he appealed to the judgment of the people; brave because he is most likely aware that his party will not win this election.

The emerging political forces

There are three emerging political forces: the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the Nippon Mirai no To (Japan Future Party) created just two weeks before the ' beginning of the election campaign by Ms. Yukiko Kada, governor of Shiga Prefecture. Paradoxically, the younger and apparently small party is what characterizes this election.

Kada was elected governor of Shiga Prefecture in 2006 and four years later was re-elected with 420 thousand preference votes. She is the first woman elected governor in this prefecture and the fifth woman governor in the history of Japan.

The rejection of nuclear power plants

Before the nuclear disaster of 11 March 2011 in the north-east of Japan, hundreds of nuclear power plants were running on the archipelago. The earthquake and tsunami that day, in addition to killing tens of thousands of people, damaged the Fukushima nuclear power plant, making the surrounding area uninhabitable for a radius of 30 km. On 4 December, the day of 'beginning of the election campaign, the presidents of the eleven party members intentionally held the inaugural speech in this area and chose the nuclear problem as their theme.

Previously, on November 30, the presidents of the parties participating in the election campaign, gathered in a hall of the Japan National Press Center in Tokyo for a public discussion with journalists. Most of the questions were addressed to Shinzo Abe (in the picture, the first left.), President of the Liberal Democratic Party, the party which since 1955 - for over 50 years - has been at the helm of government

Many interventions targeted the nuclear industry. Evidently it was not on nuclear weapons, taboo in a country that has experienced the horror of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The topic was nuclear power and plants to generate it. In that regard, the questions were very clear and some answers of great significance because 'given by personalities who have relations with the government: Yoshihiko Koda, Prime Minister and President of the Democratic Party of Japan (pictured far right), Ms. Yukiko Kada (pictured center), Governor of Shiga Prefecture, and Shinzo Abe, former Prime Minister.

"Zero Nuclear Energy" in Japan was Kada's clear answer. "We want to send a message of hope to the world, the earth and future generations" and she added, "promoting a nuclear energy policy only to support economic viability is equivalent to undermining the dignity of Japan as a nation."

Aware that dismantling takes time, money and competence, Kada estimated it would take at least 10 years. What's significant is the fact that the secretary of her party is Professor Tetsunari Iida (53), director of the Institute for sustainable energy policy and founder of a study group on renewable energy.

In Kada's political platform there is also concern for women, especially mothers: efforts to increase work in harmony with their state and promise to deliver 322 thousand yen per year per child.

Noda's program also includes the phasing out of all nuclear power plants, but with estimates of their total dismantlement by 2030.

Abe, the president of the Liberal Democratic Party, was rather ambiguous. Resigned to accepting arguments for elimination, He would not indicate the date of attainment of the goal "zero nuclear power in Japan."

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