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

Hostage Crisis Could Divide Japan Over Plans to Boost Military

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Monday the government is working closely with the Jordanian government to secure the release of remaining Japanese hostage Kenji Goto More

Video Brussels Shaken as New Greek Leader Challenges Europe’s Austerity Drive

Country's youngest ever PM Alexis Tsipras, 40, sworn in Monday and says he will restore dignity to Greece by ending spending cuts More

Multimedia National Geographic Photo Camps Empower Youth

Annual mentoring program's mission is to give young people a voice to tell their own stories through photography More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

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

All About America

AppleAndroid