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Japan Inc not as keen as Abe government on nuclear power -Reuters poll via Reuters

* Most firms see nuclear power having lesser role than govt target

* All Japan reactors are offline in wake of Fukushima disaster

* Govt aims for nuclear to be 20-22 pct of energy mix by 2030

* Expectations for nuclear energy prospects vary greatly

By Tetsushi Kajimoto and Yuka Obayashi

TOKYO, May 25 (Reuters) – Two-thirds of Japanese companies want and expect a lesser role for nuclear power than the government is targeting, a Reuters survey showed, reflecting persistent concerns about safety four years after the Fukushima disaster.

All of the country’s 43 operable reactors are offline – the result of a tougher safety regime introduced after an earthquake and tsunami hit the Fukushima plant, causing meltdowns, explosions and plumes of radioactivity.

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PUBLIC OPPOSITION

Most public opinion polls have put opposition to nuclear restarts at about two-to-one over support. This is despite an average 20 percent rise in household electricity bills to cover the cost of imported fuel.

Local residents and activists are seeking to block the restart of all five reactors certified as meeting new safety standards from the Nuclear Regulation Authority – making it hard to predict the timing of resumption of operations.

The restart of one, the Takayama plant owned by Kansai Electric Power, has been delayed indefinitely after a court sided with activists. The first restart could be the Sendai plant owned by Kyushu Electric Power but the regulator has said company plans for that to happen in mid-July are too optimistic as it needs to finalise its review.

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