<< OSAKA–With opposition led by powerful Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, the city council here on March 27 rejected a referendum to put the issue of nuclear power on the ballot, turning down a petition filed by a citizens advocacy group.
Osaka Ishin no Kai (Osaka restoration group), a regional political party led by Hashimoto, voted against the ordinance bill calling for a referendum on allowing Kansai Electric Power Co.’s nuclear power reactors back online.
Hashimoto, an advocate for the phasing out of nuclear power, has a huge support base despite heated controversy over the quality of his politics. His Osaka Ishin no Kai holds 33 seats on the 86-member Osaka City Council.
« We are taking seriously the fact that 55,000 people signed up (on the petition), » said Teruo Minobe, the secretary-general of Osaka Ishin no Kai’s Osaka City Council caucus. « But Hashimoto has begun preparing a shareholder’s proposal to submit to KEPCO. We are already heading in the direction of a phaseout of nuclear power. There is no need to hold the referendum at the cost of 500 million yen ($6 million). »
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