May 30, 2012 / 11:48 AM / 6 years ago

Japan PM Noda: must restart reactors that are confirmed safe

TOKYO, May 30 (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda told reporters on Wednesday that it was necessary to restart idled nuclear reactors whose safety has been confirmed, adding the central government was winning understanding from local authorities.

Noda added that he would make a final decision on reactor restarts once local authorities have made up their minds.

Noda was commenting after a meeting with key cabinet ministers to discuss resuming operations at two reactors in western Japan, which the government argues must be reconnected to the grid to avoid a summer power crunch.

Earlier, a group of regional governors, long concerned about whether it was safe to resume power generation at Kansai Electric Power Co’s two reactors in Ohi, western Japan, signalled their agreement to the restarts as a “limited” step.

A decision by Noda and key ministers to restart the reactors would ease worries about power shortages among firms in the region, including struggling electronics giants Panasonic Corp and Sharp Corp. But the move could also irk voters and undermine Noda’s already sagging public support. (Reporting by Kentaro Hamada; Writing by Linda Sieg; Editing by Edmund Klamann)

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