Japan’s election campaign is underway ahead of the December 16 vote with the country’s energy needs a hot topic post-Fukushima. Such is the shadow cast by the nuclear disaster of nearly two years ago that both Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and his Liberal Democratic rival Shinzo Abe opened up their campaigns in the Fukushima prefecture. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda spoke of the need to rebuild Fukushima and Japan: “By starting right here, we are reaffirming our belief that reconstruction of Japan is not possible without the reconstruction of Fukushima, we hope to start Japan’s rebirth.” It was under Abe’s Liberal Democrats that Japan embarked on a nuclear programme to provide 50 per cent of the country’s electricity. After Fukushima that is no longer an option. Liberal Democratic leader Shinzo Abe also carried a message of rebirth: “We will seek the recovery of Fukushima, a disaster zone, as soon as possible. We will create a Japan in which those born in this country will feel joy, and regain a nation in which our children will be proud to be born in Japan. I ask you to lend us your hand.” Over the summer weekly anti-nuclear protests popped up outside Prime Minister Noda’s residence. By September Noda announced his intention to close Japan’s nuclear industry by the end of the 2030s. Japan must diversify its energy production and the leader with the best ideas may well carry the electorate.