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Japan’s leader wants nuclear plants restarted via The New York Times

TOKYO – In a blunt appeal on national television, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda asked for his nation’s support Friday in restarting one of Japan’s idled nuclear plants, saying the loss of energy could bring blackouts and economic chaos.

In the 10-minute speech, Noda took his case directly to the Japanese people, explaining why he wants to resume operation of at least some of Japan’s 50 commercial reactors, which have all been idled since last year’s nuclear accident in Fukushima. Noda said he would order the restart of two reactors at the Ohi nuclear plant in western Japan once he gets the final approval from the local Fukui prefectural government, which is expected to make a decision as early as next week.

Noda spoke in stark terms, saying he had concluded that Japan could not maintain its current living standards without nuclear power. Responding to the commonly heard argument here that Japan is currently getting along fine without the plants, he said conservation measures would not be enough in the approaching summer months to overcome the loss of the nation’s nuclear plants, which before the Fukushima accident supplied almost a third of Japan’s electricity.

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