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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 November 11 - 17  > Miyagi governor agrees to reactivate Onagawa NPP without obtaining residents’ consent
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2020 November 11 - 17 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Miyagi governor agrees to reactivate Onagawa NPP without obtaining residents’ consent

November 12, 2020
Miyagi Governor Murai Yoshihiro on November 11 announced his approval to reactivate the No.2 reactor at the Tohoku Electric Power Compnay’s Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant located in the prefecture. Miyagi is the first prefecture to agree on the restart among NPP-hosting prefectures hit by the 2011 massive quake and tsunami.

Governor Murai earlier in the day visited Ishinomaki City, which hosts the Onagawa NPP together with Onagawa Town, to hold talks with the heads of these two municipalities.

At a press conference after the talks, Murai explained that he made this decision because he obtained agreement from the prefectural assembly as well as from reactor-hosting municipal heads and other local government leaders. On the other hand, the governor avoided talking about residents’ opinions on this issue. Showing his support for the central government policy of bringing nuclear reactors back online, Murai said, “An argument calling for the closure of nuclear power plants due to concerns over nuclear accidents appears to be the same as opposing the use of public transportation on the grounds of safety risks.”

Outside the venue of the tripartite talks, along with concerned citizens, activists of civil groups opposing the reactivation of the Onagawa NPP staged a protest by holding banners reading, “Oppose restart of the Onagawa NPP!”, “Pass on a nuclear power-free world to children!”

In protest against the governor’s announcement, civil groups jointly issued a statement which reads, “The governor’s decision does not represent agreement and understanding among Miyagi residents. We will work even harder to increase public support for our opposition to the governor’s decision that ignores residents’ opinions.”

The Japanese Communist Party Miyagi Prefectural Committee and the JCP Prefectural Assemblymembers’ group on the day released a statement to protest against the governor’s decision. In the statement, the JCP pointed out that in all opinion polls, the majority of Miyagi residents have expressed their opposition to putting the Onagawa NPP back online. It criticized the governor for giving his approval without making efforts to obtain residents’ consent such as holding a referendum. It also questioned the feasibility of evacuation plans drawn up by municipal governments within a 30km radius of the NPP.

Past related articles:
> Nuclear regulator okays restart of Onagawa NPP, ignoring residents’ concerns over safety [February 28, 2020]
> More than 110,000 Miyagi voters seek local vote on Onagawa NPP [December 13, 2018]
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