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Hokkaido village starts 1st mayoral race in 36 years amid nuclear row

  • February 22, 2022
  • , Jiji Press , 6:25 p.m.
  • English Press

Kamoenai, Hokkaido, Feb. 22 (Jiji Press)–A village in the northernmost Japan prefecture of Hokkaido kicked off the campaign period for its first mayoral election in 36 years, amid a row over the ongoing survey there on a possible final disposal site for high-level radioactive waste.

For Sunday’s mayoral poll in the village of Kamoenai, Masayuki Takahashi, the 71-year-old incumbent backing the survey and seeking his sixth term, and first-time candidate Hideyuki Seo, 79, a former company president calling for nuclear power to be abandoned, filed their candidacies on Tuesday.

Takahashi, who decided to accept the survey in 2020, partly based on a petition from the local chamber of commerce and industry, plans to manage his municipality while utilizing subsidies from the central government for accepting the survey.

Seo, meanwhile, is opposed to advancing to the next-stage survey.

After filing his candidacy, the incumbent said before his supporters that he would make a decision on what to do about the next stage after carefully listening to opinions of village residents.

The challenger called for rejecting the second-stage survey.

A similar survey is ongoing in the Hokkaido town of Settsu, where the incumbent mayor won a sixth term in the 2021 election, beating a first-time candidate critical of the survey.

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