Big Japanese anti-nuclear protests

This video from Japan is called Fukushima: Radiation 1000 times over normal outside no-go zone.

By Mike Head:

Japanese nuclear reactor re-activated despite mass protest

3 July 2012

A Japanese nuclear power reactor restarted on Sunday—the first to reopen since the March 2011 Fukushima earthquake disaster—despite deepening popular opposition, reflected in a huge demonstration last Friday.

Organisers estimated that between 150,000 and 180,000 people joined the rally outside Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s official residence in central Tokyo, making it one of the largest protests in Japan in recent years. The turnout by far exceeded the estimated 45,000 people who attended a rally the week before.

The Asahi Shimbun reported that chants of “Saikado hantai! (We oppose the restart of the reactors) filled the streets. A wide cross-section of people, including mothers with children, pensioners and businessmen, carried placards and banners denouncing the government’s decision last month to order the reactivation of two reactors at Oi, on Japan’s western shore.

A 36-year-old woman who brought her two young children to the rally told the newspaper it was the first such rally she had attended. “The government never cares about our lives,” she said. “I have been a silent observer so far, but I cannot stand aside any longer.” Her comments reflect a broad distrust of the political establishment, which has brushed aside widely-held safety and health concerns.

Police sought to downplay the size of the rally, claiming that 17,000 people were involved. But the crowd blocked off a six-lane road and adjoining streets. Police parked five armoured riot control buses outside Noda’s compound to prevent protesters entering it, and several helicopters circled overhead.

On the same day, smaller rallies were held in other cities, including Osaka, Nagoya, Nagasaki and Kumamoto. On Sunday, another 10,000-strong demonstration took place in Tokyo, and about 700 protesters blockaded the entrance to the Oi facility.

These demonstrations, organised primarily via social media, undoubtedly give voice to a wider public sentiment. A June 5 Pew opinion poll found 70 percent of respondents favouring a reduction in the country’s dependence on nuclear energy.

And some of those fighting hardest against the restart of more nuclear plants are Japan’s professional surfers, who say Fukushima‘s coastline was once regarded as one of the best surfing spots in the country: here.

Eyewitness from Japan: No more Fukushimas, protesters demand: here.

Japanese MPs investigating the Fukushima nuclear disaster said today that it was “man made” and should have been avoided: here.

As Japan Says Fukushima Disaster “Man-Made” and “Preventable,” Fears Grow for Nuclear Plants Worldwide: here.

Japanese report blames government/corporate nexus for Fukushima disaster: here.

Fukushima: A disaster produced by capitalism: here.

6 thoughts on “Big Japanese anti-nuclear protests

  1. Japanese rebel MP to put ‘lives first’

    Wednesday 11 July 2012

    Dissident MP Ichiro Ozawa who recently broke away from Japan’s ruling party launched a new political grouping today.

    Mr Ozawa and 48 other MPs quit the Democratic Party of Japan last month in opposition to a VAT rise pushed by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s government.

    He has been a vocal critic of Mr Noda’s plan to double VAT to 10 per cent by 2015, saying that it breaks the ruling party’s campaign promise to put “people’s lives first.”

    He adopted the phrase as the name of his new party, which he claimed will achieve that goal.

    Ozawa said a tax rise while Japan is still recovering from last year’s tsunami and nuclear disaster, as well as battling to deal with a prolonged economic slump, only adds to the national crisis.

    The new party has also outlined its aim to reduce the country’s reliance on nuclear energy – something that has been a major public concern since the nuclear crisis.


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