May 30, 2012 / 9:48 AM / 5 years ago

Japan ministers to meet on reactor restarts At 1050 GMT

TOKYO, May 30 (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and key cabinet ministers will meet on Wednesday to discuss restarting two idled nuclear reactors to avoid a possible summer power crunch, the trade ministry said, amid persistent voter concerns about atomic safety after the Fukushima crisis.

A decision by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda to restart the reactors, operated by Kansai Electric Power, would ease concerns among firms in western Japan, forecast to face the country’s worst power shortages, but could also undermine Noda’s already sagging public support.

The ministers will meet at 7:50 p.m. (1050 GMT).

The area served by Kansai Electric is home to many manufacturers including struggling Panasonic Corp and Sharp Corp.

Nuclear power supplied nearly 30 percent of Japan’s electricity needs before Fukushima, but all of the country’s 50 reactors have been taken offline for checks in the ensuing months. The government has been struggling to win support from local authorities for the restarts, although their permission is not legally required.

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