JAPAN | Demonstrations against nuclear power blanket Japan – over 20,000 protesters in Tokyo alone

Posted on June 12, 2011

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JAPAN | ASAHI SHIMBUN | 12 June 2011

Marking three months after the crisis erupted at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake, protesters marched against nuclear power generation in rallies across Japan on June 11.

In Tokyo’s Shinjuku district, where about 20,000 people participated in a march that started at about 3 p.m., 43-year-old company employee Makoto Saito joined the protest along with his wife and two sons.

“Above all things, I care about my children’s future. There is no way except for suspending the operations of nuclear power plants immediately,” said Saito, who was taking part in a demonstration of this kind for the first time.

The protests across Japan were organized, through the Internet and other means, by environmental and other groups under the title, “6-11 Datsu-Genpatsu 100-Mannin Action” (June 11 nuclear power generation-free one million people action).

Organizers have held similar demonstrations in Tokyo since the accidents took place at the Fukushima plant in the aftermath of the March 11 quake and resulting tsunami, which swamped the plant.

According to the groups, demonstrations and other anti-nuclear events were held on June 11 at about 140 sites across Japan, including Tokyo, Osaka, Hiroshima and also Fukui Prefecture, where four nuclear power plants are located.

Demonstrations and rallies were also held in parts of Fukushima Prefecture where the Fukushima No. 1 plant is sited. In Koriyama, in the central part of the prefecture, about 200 people marched while holding placards that read, “No More Fukushima” and “Return our hometowns.”

Apparently due to the accidents at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, the radiation level in Koriyama remains more than 20 times higher than that in Tokyo.

Madoka Hashimoto, a 36-year-old homemaker from Sukagawa in the prefecture, took part in the demonstration while wearing a mask with the attached message, “I cannot even take a deep breath.”

“To tell the truth, I don’t want to take part in a demonstration. But I thought that we have to raise anti-nuclear voices from local areas (in Fukushima Prefecture),” she said.

Rallies and demonstrations against nuclear power were also held overseas in June 11 in cities such as Paris, Melbourne, Hong Kong and Taipei.

In Paris, several thousands of people gathered in front of the city government building and expressed their solidarity with the Japanese who were calling for a nuclear-free world. Lawmakers from the Europe Ecology-The Greens and other political parties spoke against the government of President Nicolas Sarkozy, which is promoting the generation of nuclear power.

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