Leaders from Japan’s Federation of Utilities and industry heavyweights from firms such as Mitsubishi Heavy Industries have hailed the return of the LDP as an opportunity to shelve the previous government’s plan to phase out nuclear power. The news briefly lifted the stocks of several nuclear-related companies, although they were still far below pre-Fukushima levels. However, Businessweek reports that Japanese nuclear stocks which rallied after the pro-nuclear LDP was elected, may not be able to sustain the gains due to public opposition to restarting the nation’s nuclear power reactors.
“Just because politicians say they want to restart reactors doesn’t mean they will actually be able to do it,”said Ayako Sera, a market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank Ltd. in Tokyo, which has about $400 billion in assets.“It’ll be hard to maintain these stock gains,” she said, “Proving safety is going to be really hard.”
Anti-nuclear sentiment has been increasing dramatically in Japan after last year’s Fukushima crisis, with opinion polls showing a majority of voters wanted to phase out nuclear power.
A government-backed public forum found in August that 47 percent of participants favored cutting nuclear power to zero, while newspaper polls since the Fukushima disaster have showed support for ending atomic power in Japan.