Thousands protest Japan’s return to atomic energy
June 24, 2012
Around 20,000 people gathered in Tokyo to protest the Japanese government’s unilateral decision to restart two nuclear reactors. Many in Japan are wary of nuclear power, as memories of last year’s devastating Fukushima disaster as still fresh.
Slogans chanted by protesters included “No to the restart!”, while posters brandished “No nukes”. The rally, organized in front of the prime minister’s residence, was attended by a number of public figures, including Nobel-prize winning author Kenzaburo Oe, investigative journalist Satoshi Kamata and electronic music pioneer Ryuichi Sakamoto of Yellow Magic Orchestra fame.
Activists promised to hold another anti-nuclear rally next week.
Opposition to the government’s decision to restart the reactors just a month after the country’s last nuclear power plants were shut down has been on the rise. Activists managed to gather some 7.5 million signatures through an online petition.
Last week, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda gave the go-ahead to restart two nuclear reactors at the Oi plant in western Japan. The decision was taken in conjunction with local authorities, though Noda fell short on his promise to not act without public backing.