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Despite 2011 disaster, pro-nuclear party could win power in Japan

Published on Nov 27, 2012 11:32 AM
Protesters take part in an anti-nuclear demonstration demanding a stop to the resumption of nuclear power operations, in front of Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's official residence in Tokyo June 29, 2012. -- PHOTO : REUTERS

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Japanese voters look likely to hand victory to a party that favours nuclear power in the first election since the March 2011 Fukushima radiation disaster - a result a baffled Greenpeace activist likens to one of the "wonders of the world".

But even if the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) wins the Dec 16 election, it will not reflect any groundswell of popular support for nuclear power.

Instead, it would underline a lack of credible anti-nuclear political standard bearers in Japan and the ability of the LDP to focus the debate on security matters and the stalled economy.

An LDP win would also signal successful lobbying by Japan's "nuclear village", a web of vested interests including utilities, bureaucrats and lawmakers that remains powerful despite the world's worst radiation crisis in a quarter century.

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