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29 January, 2016

Yawatahama City Assembly Votes Down Request for Referendum on Ikata-3

On January 28, the assembly of Yawatahama City in Ehime Prefecture (on the island of Shikoku in Japan) voted against a petition requesting an ordinance to stage a local referendum on whether to let the Shikoku Electric Power Co. restart the Ikata-3 Nuclear Power Plant in the neighboring town of Ikata.

Shikoku Electric Power's Ikata NPPs

The unit is expected to be restarted in the spring or later in Ikata, adjacent to the city of Yawatahama. The city lies just 30km from the facility.

Residents of the city, primarily anti-nuclear groups, had collected 9,939 signatures, almost one-third of all eligible voters there. They had demanded that the city enact an ordinance under the Local Autonomy Law.

Yawatahama Mayor Ichiro Oshiro, however—who had earlier expressed his agreement in September 2015 to restart the plant—objected to the referendum, saying, “There is no framework for considering such a result or implementing it under the current system, even if citizens express their opposition to the matter.”

Before Ikata-3 can be restarted, Ehime Prefecture and Ikata Town must both agree with the plan, and Ehime Governor Tokihiro Nakamura and Ikata Mayor Kazuhiko Yamashita already expressed their consent in October 2016.

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