JAPAN | Utility’s campaign to outvote opposition to atomic plants worked

Posted on July 14, 2011

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JAPAN | MAINICHI | 14 July 2011

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) — Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s email campaign mobilizing utility and nuclear power plant employees apparently worked in drawing more e-mail opinions supporting the restart of reactors than those against in a TV program aired in late June, utility sources said Wednesday.

The TV program received a total of 286 opinions in support by e-mail and fax, while those opposed totaled 163. While the margin was 123, the utility sources said around 130 people associated with the utility posted their opinions and most of them were thought to be in support.

Kyushu Electric Power has also identified its former Executive Vice President Mamoru Dangami as having instructed his deputy to launch a campaign to send e-mails to the TV program in favor of restarting its nuclear reactors, the sources said.

The utility will admit its organized e-mail campaign in a report that it will submit to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry possibly on Thursday, the sources said.

Dangami instructed Akira Nakamura, deputy head of the utility’s nuclear power control department, to enliven discussions on the TV program, which was designed to win support for restarting two reactors after regular checks at the Genkai nuclear plant in Saga Prefecture, the sources said.

Nakamura then conveyed the instruction to his deputy who asked Kyushu Electric employees, including those at affiliates of the company, to send e-mails supporting the restart for the TV program aired June 26, they said.

Kyushu Electric had earlier denied an organized e-mail campaign, indicating it was initiated voluntarily by a senior employee.

Dangami resigned as executive vice president in charge of nuclear plants in late June.

The TV program was aimed at paving the way for restarting Genkai and other nuclear reactors after regular checks, but they had not been restarted due to the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant caused by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan.

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