News / Asia

Anti-nuclear Protesters March In Japan

Organizers say 60,000 participated, in their largest protest since the mid-March nuclear plant accident at Fukushima, September 19, 2011.
Organizers say 60,000 participated, in their largest protest since the mid-March nuclear plant accident at Fukushima, September 19, 2011.

Anti-nuclear activists marched in Japan Monday to build momentum for their movement.

An anti-nuclear coalition in Japan says it is trying to gather ten million signatures on a petition to submit to the government by the one-year anniversary of the accident at the Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant.

Organizers predicted 50,000 people would attend Monday's event and say 60,000 actually participated. The police, however, estimate the crowd -- at a rally in a park and a subsequent peaceful march through nearby streets -- totaled only about 20,000 people.

Speaking at the rally, Nobel laureate Kenzaburo Oe called for Japan to follow an example set by Italy.  In a referendum three months ago, 94 percent of Italian voters rejected a proposal to return to nuclear power generation.

Oe says Japanese need to fear the harmful physical effects of radiation caused by nuclear accidents as they did after the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that ended the Second World War.   He says rallies such as this one need to send a strong message to the government and business leaders of Japan.

Oe then helped lead part of the march, which organizers billed as a "parade" rather than a demonstration.

Keiko Ochiai, a well-known feminist essayist, joined the Nobel laureate at the head of the march. She spoke with VOA news about her views on nuclear energy. "We believe that nuke is the reason for the unhappiness of the human beings. So I can't agree with nuclear or nuclear plants itself," she said. 

That sentiment has been growing since the March 11th earthquake and tsunami that triggered the meltdown of several reactors at Tokyo Electric's Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant.

Recent polls indicate three-quarters of the public favor a gradual phase-out of nuclear power facilities in Japan, but only one in 10 Japanese want an immediate shutdown of all the plants in the country.

The March nuclear accident was the world's worst since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in the former Soviet Union. The Fukushima radiation leaks forced thousands of residents to abandon their homes and contaminated crops and meat.

Japan has scant natural resources. That was the primary reason behind the push, over decades, to build nuclear plants and lessen the nation's reliance on imported fuel to generate electricity.

Japan's new prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda, appears to be moderating the stance of his predecessor, Naoto Kan, who was the country's leader at the start of the Fukushima crisis. According to the Kyodo news service, Noda is expected to tell a United Nations conference Thursday that Japan will continue to rely on nuclear plants while making safety at the facilities the top priority.

More than half of Japan's 52 nuclear reactors were offline, in recent months, leading to shortages of electricity. But conservation measures appear to have have helped avoid feared blackouts.

Photos by S. Herman

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid