‘Nuclear Village’ Protester Turns Hero Amid Atomic Backlash via Bloomberg Businessweek

July 14 (Bloomberg) — Toshinobu Hatsui’s protest against construction of a nuclear power plant split friends and families in his hometown. After the biggest atomic accident in 25 years, resentment has turned to gratitude.“Those of us who opposed the plant can finally be proud of what we did,” said Hatsui, a 62-year-old fisherman, recalling the anger among nuclear supporters in Hidaka, south of Osaka, who missed out on an economic windfall when the town rejected the plant in the 1970s. “Since the accident, people called to express their relief that it wasn’t built.”

Opinion polls show more Japanese agree with Hatsui in demanding a future less reliant on atomic power, a pillar of energy policy for five decades. Getting what they want may depend on Prime Minister Naoto Kan surviving the backlash from the so-called “nuclear village” of politicians, bureaucrats and power utilities that promoted the industry’s rise, academics including Jeff Kingston said.

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