Oi is heavily dependent on the taxes, jobs and subsidies that the industry provides.
“A prolonged shutdown would diminish tax revenues and impact the local economy,” Japanese media quoted one councillor as saying.
Oi’s decision does not mean the two reactors will immediately be turned back on: Fukui prefecture must also agree to restart them, while leaders of other cities and prefectures in the region have expressed concerns or, in some cases, outright opposition and the sensitive nature of the nuclear debate means national officials and power companies are reluctant to override their objections and search for a consensus.
The utility and the government have warned that western cities such as Osaka might have to endure mandatory limits on usage this summer, but Toru Hashimoto, Osaka’s mayor, leader of the anti-nuclear lobby in the region, believes official estimates of supply shortfalls are exaggerated, and says the city could get through the summer with smaller, voluntary savings by citizens.
Local government leaders in the Kansai region have now voiced their opposition to restarting the reactors, despite calls from central government officials asking for their support.