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

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs