Nuclear power emerges as new Japan campaign issue
TOKYO (AFP) - The future of nuclear power in Fukushima-scarred Japan has emerged as a major campaign issue for the first time in weekend polls, but experts warn little thought has gone into how to replace atomic energy.
Environmental issues have rarely topped the agenda in Japanese elections, which tend to focus on the country's moribund economy and a policy drift fuelled by the passage of seven prime ministers in six years.
But Sunday's vote comes as a rising tide of anti-atomic sentiment is forcing an energy policy rethink, putting the fate of a power source that once generated about one-third of Japan's electricity in doubt.
All but two of the nation's 50 reactors now sit idle, switched off after a quake-triggered tsunami slammed into the Fukushima Daiichi plant in March last year, setting off the worst nuclear accident in a generation.