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

    Video Obama Remembers Fallen Troops for Memorial Day

    President urges Americans this holiday weekend to 'take a moment and offer a silent word of prayer or public word of thanks' to country's veterans

    Upsurge of Migratory Traffic Across Sahara From West to North Africa

    A report by the International Organization for Migration finds more than 60,000 migrants have transited through the Agadez region of Niger between February and April

    UN Blocks Access to Journalist Advocacy Group

    United Nations has rejected bid from nonprofit journalist advocacy group that wanted 'consultative status,' ranking that would have given them greater access to UN meetings

    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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora