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Public reactor hearing rocked by alleged government shill via The Japan Times

SENDAI — A public hearing in Sendai held to gather citizens’ opinions on future energy and environmental policy was disrupted Sunday after a Tohoku Electric official inadvertently selected to be one of the nine speakers at the event was blasted as a government shill.

The government-sponsored event was the second in a series of nationwide hearings to gauge public opinion on three options for retaining nuclear power in Japan’s energy mix in 2030 — 0 percent, 15 percent or 20 to 25 percent.

The hearing was the first held in a city heavily damaged by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Expressing what he said was Tohoku Electric Power Co.’s views on nuclear power, the official, who heads the planning department and plays a central role in its business strategy, supported the 20 to 25 percent option.

The uproar began after he identified himself as a Tohoku Electric employee and said: “I will speak by summing up the thoughts of the company.”

An uproar immediately ensued, and one person in the audience shouted: “Hasn’t the speaker choice been manipulated?”

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