FOCUS: Local Election May Affect Nuclear Waste Dump Site Selection

Politics

Suttsu, Hokkaido/Tokyo, Oct. 22 (Jiji Press)--The mayoral election in the northern Japan town of Suttsu slated for Tuesday is being closely watched for its potential effect of derailing the central government's selection of a final disposal site for high-level radioactive waste.

In Suttsu in Hokkaido, first-stage research to determine whether the town can host an underground storage facility for spent nuclear fuel from power plants across the country has been underway at the initiative of Mayor Haruo Kataoka.

In the one-on-one election, Kataoka, 72, running for a sixth term, faces off against Yoshiki Echizenya, a 70-year-old former town assembly member who is opposed to the research. Voters in the town will cast their ballots for the first time in 20 years after Kataoka was re-elected uncontested in the past four elections.

Suttsu and the small village of Kamoenai, also in Hokkaido, are the only municipalities in Japan that have signed up for research to select a site for final repository.

Suttsu, a fishing town facing the Sea of Japan with a population of about 2,800, applied for the first-stage research in October 2020 as a means of economic stimulus. The research started in the town the following month for the first time in Japan.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press