Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Largest antinuclear rally held in Tokyo since Fukushima crisis - 20th Sept 2011

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in downtown Tokyo on Monday to call for the shutdown of all nuclear power plants in Japan, in the largest protest rally in the country since the Fukushima Daiichi plant catastrophe.

Nobel Prize-winning novelist Kenzaburo Oe, journalist Satoshi Kamata and actor Taro Yamamoto were among the speakers to address the crowd, which organizers put at 60,000 people. Tokyo police estimated the crowd at half that size, or 30,000 people.

"We need to let leaders of major parties and the Japan Business Federation know our intention to resist" nuclear power generation, Oe, a leading organizer of the event, told the gathering at Tokyo's Meiji Park.

Ruiko Muto, a 58-year-old activist who leads a movement to dismantle nuclear reactors in Fukushima Prefecture, delivered a more personal message.

"To escape or not to escape? To eat or not to eat? I was forced to make such choices every day" since the March earthquake and tsunami crippled the plant, said Muto.

The March 11 natural disasters knocked out all power supplies to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, leading to explosions that damaged three reactor buildings. The massive amount of radioactive material that escaped prompted the emergency evacuation of thousands of people living in surrounding communities, and concern about radioactive food contamination. Read More