TOKYO — An estimated 1,700 people rallied in the capital of Japan’s Fukushima region, home to a crippled atomic power plant, on Sunday, calling for an end to nuclear energy, local media reported.
“Abolish all the nuclear power plants!” and “Give radiation-free Fukushima back to us,” the demonstrators chanted as they marched in Fukushima City, some 50 kilometres (30 miles) from the nuclear plant.
The rally, joined by residents evacuated from areas outside the Fukushima Daiichi plant, was organised by the Japan Congress Against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs as part of its longtime campaign against nuclear weapons.
It was the first time that the leading anti-nuclear organisation staged a rally in Fukushima to observe the anniversaries of the World War II atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945.
“We have tended to focus on abolition of nuclear weapons while being weak in our campaign against nuclear power plants,” Koichi Kawano, a Nagasaki atomic-bomb survivor who heads the organising group, told the rally.
“Let there be no more nuclear plant accidents.”
A 9.0-magnitude earthquake and ensuing tsunami ravaged the Fukushima plant on March 11, leading to radioactive leaks.
Hiromasa Yoshida, a 45-year-old school teacher evacuated from the town of Namie inside a 20-kilometre no-go zone outside the plant, told the rally: “Let us become the last victims of any nuclear plant accident.
“Now is the time to shift away from nuclear power generation.”
The organisation is due to hold similar rallies in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the run-up to the 66th anniversaries of the bombings.