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World's Biggest Nuclear Plant Is Center Stage in Rural Election

  • Japan governor race focuses on Tepco’s nuclear power plant
  • Tepco shares are up 19% since former anti-nuclear gov resigned
Reactor buildings at the Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear power station in Kashiwazaki.
Reactor buildings at the Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear power station in Kashiwazaki.Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

The fate of the world’s largest atomic plant may be decided by a local election this weekend in a rural Japanese prefecture better known for its skiing and sake.

The top two candidates running in the June 10 Niigata gubernatorial race are opposed to the speedy restart of Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holding Inc.’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear reactors -- which the utility, known as Tepco, aims to fire-up as soon as 2019. But the degree to which the candidates oppose atomic power is being watched closely by investors, voters and local media.