Fukushima town re-elects mayor

22 November 2011

Residents of the town closest to the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan have re-elected a mayor who wants to rebuild the community, rejecting a candidate who advocated permanent relocation. Mayoral and prefectural elections in the Fukushima prefecture were rescheduled from April in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the region in March. Two candidates stood for election as mayor in Okuma, which was at the beginning of the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant: Toshitsuna Watanabe, the existing mayor who is keen to rebuild the town, and Jin Kowata, who advocated the relocation of the entire population of 11,500. Watanabe was re-elected by 3451 votes to 2343 in a poll with a turnout of just over 68%. According to the town's website, nearly 8000 evacuees from Okuma are still in the Fukushima prefecture. All evacuees were eligible to vote in the election.