Pro-Nuclear Governor in Japan Wins Re-election by Wide Margin via The Wall Street Journal

SATSUMA-SENDAI, Japan—A Japanese governor who supports the restart of a nuclear plant in southern Kagoshima prefecture won a new term by a landslide on Sunday in a closely watched election following Japan’s resumption of operations at its first—and so far only—reactors since last year’s Fukushima disaster.

The gubernatorial race—the first since last month’s decision to restart a pair of reactors in another prefecture—became a de facto referendum on nuclear power, which has split much of the country into two camps. Those in favor want to maintain electricity generation, fearing economically painful cuts in the hot summer months. Opponents cite lingering questions about the prevailing pre-Fukushima safety standards.

The Sunday vote shows how, despite deep opposition to nuclear energy nationally, the mostly rural prefectures hosting the reactors are hesitant to pull the plug as they depend on them for jobs and subsidies—and worry other power-starved businesses may flee.

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