Tourism industry damaged in Fukui prefecture by the restart of Oi nuclear reactors
the distinction of being selected as the first town with reactors designated for restart has put a damper on the town’s ambitions to diversify its economy by becoming more of a tourism resort.
A survey released May 31 by national broadcaster NHK found 81% of people in the towns bordering Oi think the nuclear plant there may suffer a Fukushima-type disaster.
Japan’s Nuclear Restarts Worry Tourism Industry WSJ, By CHESTER, DAWSON, 22 June 12 OI, Japan—The Sodegahama public beach draws thousands of swimmers and sunbathers who flock each summer to the sheltered cove at the tip of a rural peninsula in Fukui prefecture. At one end of the arc of sand is a popular campground with a pair of historic bronze cannons dating from 1854. At the other lies a tree-covered hill shielding the view of four nuclear reactor domes 1,000 feet (several hundred meters) away.
As the Japanese government has moved to restart nuclear reactors for the first time since last year’s disaster in Fukushima, this seaside town, which depends on the plant for jobs and subsidies, is wary about of the impact on another major source of revenue: tourism…..
Oi is known for its shallow-water beaches, prime waters for fishing,
and a handful of newer family-friendly attractions, such as the town’s
“Mushroom Forest” amusement park with a 500-yard-long460-meter-long
The 1,640-foot (500-meter shoreline at Sodegahama, which abuts the
fenced-in nuclear-plant site, is one of three public beaches in the
Yet the distinction of being selected as the first town with reactors designated for restart has put a damper on the town’s ambitions to diversify its economy by becoming more of a tourism resort.
At one Japanese-style inn a stone’s throw from the Oi plant, summer
reservations are one-tenth of normal levels, the manager said
recently, before the formal restart announcement. “Our bookings have
plummeted,” said the manager, who declined to provide his name. “It is
tough because the reactor is bad for our business, but it is important
to the town’s economy.”
Ultimately, the decision on whether to resume operations at the plant
was up to the governor of Fukui prefecture where, the Oi reactors are
While Gov. Issei Nishikawa threw his full support behind the restart
on Saturday and Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda embraced the
long-awaited move, many neighboring communities in Fukui and Japanese
throughout the country remain deeply ambivalent about nuclear energy.
A survey released May 31 by national broadcaster NHK found 81% of people in the towns bordering Oi think the nuclear plant there may suffer a Fukushima-type disaster. Distance doesn’t seem to ease such
fears. The ratio of respondents who similarly fear a catastrophic
accident in Oi was 80% in Osaka, a major city on the opposite coast of
Both greater Osaka and municipalities closer to Fukui are among the
biggest source of tourists who have visited Oi in the past, the town’s
tourism authorities said…… Oi officials say they don’t have data
on how much money is spent annually by tourists, but estimate it could
be as high as ¥780 million ($9.8 million).
That is just a fraction of the ¥6.17 billion the town received last
year in nuclear-related subsidies, which accounted for over half of
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