Huge Japanese anti-nuclear demonstration

No Nukes, by Yoshitomo Nara

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

200,000 say No to Japan’s nuclear plants

Monday 16 July 2012

by Our Foreign Desk

Hundreds of thousands of people rallied at a Tokyo park today demanding Japan abandon nuclear power.

Led by Nobel-winning novelist Kenzaburo Oe, pop star Ryuichi Sakamoto and artist Yoshitomo Nara, the protesters expressed outrage over a report that blamed the Fukushima disaster on Japan’s culture of “reflexive obedience” and held no individuals responsible.

The rally at sprawling Yoyogi Park was the latest and is among the biggest – drawing 200,000 people, according to organisers – in a series of huge protests.

“We want to leave a world without nuclear power for our children,” said Takeshi Shinoda, a hospital worker wearing a “No Nukes” T-shirt and marching with his three-year-old son.

The movement’s leaders say they have collected 7.4 million signatures on a petition demanding nuclear power be phased out.

Japan shut all of its nuclear plants down for safety checks after a tsunami and earthquake in March last year sparked several meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi power station.

About 150,000 people were evacuated from a 12-mile area around the plant because of radiation fears and officials say it still isn’t safe for them to go back.

The disaster, the world’s second-worst nuclear accident after Chernobyl, has deeply divided Japan.

Its 50 working reactors had been offline until last month, when Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda decided to restart one at Ohi in central Japan.

A second reactor there is slated to go online later this week.

But anti-nuclear protesters are not convinced, saying that Japan has done fine without atomic energy for more than a year.

They also said they were offended by a parliamentary investigation that blamed Japanese culture for the Fukushima disaster.

One said blaming the culture was a cop-out, adding that individuals – including the president of Fukushima Dai-Ichi owner Tepco – should be held responsible.

Addressing the rally, Mr Sakamoto said it was ridiculous to risk people’s lives for electricity.

“Life is more important than money,” he said. “Keeping silent after Fukushima is barbaric.”

Japan looks for ‘active faults’ under restarted nuclear plant: here.

Japan workers ‘told to lie about radiation’: here.

Japanese Labour Ministry officials said on Sunday that they had launched an investigation following media reports of a cover-up at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant: here.

Experts investigating Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster said today that operator Tepco continues to drag its feet and downplay the amount of damage at the crippled plant: here.

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