Anti-nuclear novice wins Japan election, blow to nuclear restarts


Niigata, Japan —An anti-nuclear candidate won a Japanese regional election on Sunday, a blow to Tokyo Electric Power’s attempts to restart the world’s biggest atomic power station and a challenge to the government’s energy policy. Ryuichi Yoneyama, 49, a doctor-lawyer who has never held office and is backed mostly by left-wing parties, won the race for governor of Niigata north of Tokyo, Japanese media projected, in a vote dominated by concerns over the future of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa power station and nuclear safety more than five years after the Fukushima catastrophe of March 2011. “As I have promised all of you, under current circumstances where we can’t protect your lives and your way of life, I declare clearly that I can’t approve a restart,” Yoneyama told supporters at his campaign headquarters.Cheers of “Banzai!” erupted as media began projecting him the winner over former mayor Tamio Mori, 67, backed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s pro-nuclear Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Yoneyama had more than 500,000 votes to about 430,000 for Mori with 93 percent of the vote counted, public broadcaster NHK said.—Reuters