Hokkaido Town Kicks Off Mayor Race, Focusing on N-Waste

Economy Politics

Suttsu, Hokkaido, Oct. 21 (Jiji Press)--A Hokkaido town Thursday kicked off the campaign period for its first mayoral election in 20 years, focusing on whether to continue a survey on a possible final disposal site for high-level radioactive waste.

For Tuesday's election at Suttsu in the northernmost Japan prefecture, 70-year-old Yoshiki Echizenya, a former town assembly member opposing the survey, runs against 72-year-old Mayor Haruo Kataoka in his fifth term, who approved the start of the survey.

Echizenya has criticized Kataoka for applying for the first stage of the three-stage survey based on "his unilateral decision," leaving local residents split up.

The first stage, known as a literature investigation, checks geological literature and data as part of the survey to find possible locations of the final disposal site for high-level radioactive waste from nuclear power plants.

Echizenya has promised to pull the plug on the survey altogether once elected as mayor. He calls for fiscal management not dependent on state grants paid for the survey.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press