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Election Battlegrounds: PM Abe stresses recovery in Fukushima

Ruling Liberal Democratic Party leader and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivers a campaign speech in the city of Fukushima on the morning of Oct. 10, 2017. (Mainichi)

FUKUSHIMA -- Prime Minister and Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) leader Shinzo Abe launched his campaign for the Oct. 22 general election with a speech here declaring that recovery from the Fukushima nuclear disaster "is absolutely moving forward."

He made the remarks in front of voters near Azuma Baseball Stadium in the prefectural capital. One 69-year-old farmer there told the Mainichi Shimbun, "There is still (economic) damage here from harmful rumors about the nuclear disaster. I'd be thankful if he could look into that." Furthermore, as the baseball stadium is set to be a venue for baseball and softball during the Tokyo 2020 Games, the farmer would "like progress on local infrastructure improvements."

Meanwhile, a small business owner originally from the Tsushima district of the prefectural town of Namie -- still designated a nuclear disaster "difficult to return zone" -- wondered aloud, "Isn't he just trying to show us he hasn't forgotten Fukushima because he wants votes?"

"For the sake of the next generation, I want (Japanese) society to be made nuclear power-free. Members of every party should come see the disaster area with their own eyes, and debate nuclear power more seriously," added the woman, who still lives in evacuee housing about 5 kilometers east of the stadium.

The battle for the Fukushima No. 1 constituency is set to be a one-on-one fight between one independent and one from the ruling LDP.

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