The Japanese government said that its idled nuclear reactors could resume operations after passing the second stage of stress tests to ensure safety and to reassure the public after the Fukushima Daiichi incident.

The implementation of the second stage of the stress tests was announced in early July and involved a comprehensive safety assessment of all Japan’s nuclear plants.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan said that Japan would administer stress tests for nuclear plants modelled on those conducted by the European Union.

The move was welcomed by critics who claimed that Japan’s safety regulations have been too lax, but it also raised the risk of power shortages stretching into the summer of 2012 that could hurt industrial production.

Currently, 19 of Japan’s 54 reactors are operating. The government had been pushing for early restarts of facilities to avoid a power crunch, but some local authorities have said that they were unable to give their clearance until the government “clarified its position”.

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