Leaders for Japan’s biggest political parties are kicking off the campaign for parliamentary elections to be held in less than two weeks with visits to nuclear crisis-hit Fukushima prefecture.
Nuclear energy and the economy are key issues in the Dec. 16 election, which is widely expected to send Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s unpopular Democratic Party of Japan to defeat after three years in power.
The opposition Liberal Democratic Party is leading in the polls, but is unlikely to win a majority of seats in the lower house of parliament.
The most likely outcome of the election is a coalition government whose makeup is far from clear.
Polls show more than 40 percent of voters don’t know which party they’ll support in the election.
As Japan’s earthquake and tsunami ripped through the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the wind turbines at nearby Takine Ojiroi Wind Farm did what they were designed to do – they swayed, they stopped, they electronically checked themselves and automatically restarted.
"Except for one turbine that was very close to the nuclear power plant, all the turbines were up and running after the quake," said Sean Sutton of Vestas, the world’s largest manufacturer of electricity generating wind turbines.
"And the damaged turbine we were able to monitor remotely," he said. Even now, the turbines are generating power for the grid despite being isolated within the nuclear exclusion zone.
As a source of power, wind energy is about as clean, safe and earthquake-proof as it gets — the problem is it generates a fraction of Japan’s energy needs.
Read the rest of the story: Japan and energy: What’s the alternative?.