Voting starts in Japanese local elections amid ongoing nuclear crisis

16:02, April 10, 2011      

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Voting started Sunday in key Japanese regional elections amid an ongoing nuclear emergency at the troubled Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant which was crippled by March 11 earthquake and ensuing tsunami.

Voters are casting ballots in 12 prefectures, including Tokyo and Hokkaido, for governors. Elections are also being carried out for mayors of four major cities, assembly members of 41 prefectures and 15 of the country's municipalities.

The elections have been considered a key test for Prime Minister Naoto Kan who came to power last June and the ruling Democratic Party of Japan.

The races have been relatively quiet as candidates are refraining from appeals and campaigning tactics.

A woman, who preferred anonymity, told Xinhua at a local polling station in downtown Tokyo that she hoped the winner of the race would craft policies that could bring a sense of security to people, especially their children, at a time when the aftershocks of the March 11 quake were still occurring.

A quake with a magnitude of 7.1 struck northeastern Miyagi Prefecture and the neighboring prefectures late Thursday night, killing four people and left 141 others injured as of Friday. The quake was considered a large aftershock of the devastating March 11 earthquake, and severe tremors were felt in Tokyo.

In addition, the reactors at the Fukushima No.1 nuclear complex have been leaking radioactive materials and the Japanese authorities are battling to keep them under control.

Source: Xinhua
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