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

Video Obama Announces Plan to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obama details troop deployment and other pieces of US plan More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid