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Hokkaido town becomes flashpoint in Japan's nuclear waste debate

Mayor and governor clash over ethics and risks of potential disposal site

Hokkaido Electric Power's Tomari nuclear power plant is located about 50 km northeast of Settsu. 

TOKYO -- An idyllic town on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido is embroiled in a hot debate over nuclear waste, as its mayor weighs building a disposal facility there over the opposition of the governor as well as surrounding towns.

Suttsu Mayor Haruo Kataoka two weeks ago said he is considering having the town take part in a preliminary survey toward the construction of a nuclear waste facility. Municipalities that participate in the survey stand to receive up to 2 billion yen ($18.8 million) from the national government.

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