News / Asia

Tens of Thousands Protest Against Nuclear Power in Japan

An anti-nuclear protester waits to begin a march through downtown Tokyo, Japan, July 16, 2012.An anti-nuclear protester waits to begin a march through downtown Tokyo, Japan, July 16, 2012.
x
An anti-nuclear protester waits to begin a march through downtown Tokyo, Japan, July 16, 2012.
An anti-nuclear protester waits to begin a march through downtown Tokyo, Japan, July 16, 2012.
TOKYO — Tens of thousands of people demonstrated in Tokyo Monday to protest against nuclear power and the government’s recent decision to restart two reactors in central Japan.

The rally brought together participants from across the country under the banner of "Sayonara Gempatsu" - or "goodbye nuclear plants."

Police estimated the crowd at 75,000, but organizers claimed 170,000. The turnout made it one of the largest demonstrations against nuclear power in the Japanese capital.

The rally began with a series of speeches by prominent figures, including Nobel-prize laureate for literature Oe Kenzaburo and composer Ryuichi Sakamoto. They called on the government to abandon nuclear power, and questioned its decision to restart two reactors at the Ohi plant earlier this month.

Buddhist priest Takao Takeda interrupted his annual pilgrimage on foot from Tokyo to Hiroshima to attend the rally.

"Human life comes first. Electricity, the economy, are a secondary concern," said Takeda. "Radioactivity is a threat, so if we want to protect life, then we need to oppose nuclear plants."

Osamu Utsunomiya came with a group of 30 citizens from Ehime Prefecture. Their region hosts the Ikata nuclear plant, where a reactor is high on the government’s list for future restarts.

 "We’re here to call for the decommissioning of all nuclear reactors in Japan," he says. "The nuclear plant in our prefecture is extremely dangerous, and we’re opposed to its restart."

Many participants said they had never joined a rally before, but felt compelled to express their concerns. Kae Shiraishi, a resident of the capital, hopes the politicians will listen.

"Despite the Fukushima accident and all the trouble we caused to the rest of the world," she says. "Our government still intends to continue with nuclear plants. If we don’t change this situation now, I don’t know when it will be possible."

The administration of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda launched a nationwide consultation this month to redefine Japan’s energy policy.

It proposes to bring the proportion of nuclear power in the country's energy mix to 0, 15 or 25 percent by 2030.

The organizers of Monday's rally hope the massive turnout will be enough to tip the balance.


  • Some of the crowd that demonstrated in Tokyo against nuclear power, Japan, July 16, 2012 (Miguel Quintana/VOA)
  • Tens of thousands of people demonstrated against nuclear power in Tokyo. (Miguel Quintana/VOA)
  • Nobel literature prize laureate Kenzaburo Oe address the crowd at the anti-nuclear rally. (Miguel Quintana/VOA)
  • A demonstrator protesting nuclear power in Tokyo (Miguel Quintana/VOA)
  • A child at the demonstration against nuclear power (Miguel Quintana/VOA)

You May Like

Tunnel Bombs Highlight Savagery of Aleppo Fight

Rebels have used tunneling tactic near government buildings, command posts or supply routes to set off explosives; they detonated their largest bomb this week under Syria's intelligence headquarters More

Sierra Leone Launches New Initiative to Stop Ebola Spread

Government hopes Infection and Prevention Control Units, IPC, will help protect patients and healthcare workers More

UN Official: Fight Against Terrorism Must Not Violate Human Rights

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says efforts by states to combat terrorism are resulting in large scale rights violations against the very citizens they claim to defend More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boyi
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2015 2:36 AM
A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960s Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More