Anti-nuclear protesters surround Japan parliament

Thousands of demonstrators holding aloft candles and lights formed a human chain around Japan's parliament on Sunday in a new protest against nuclear power after last year's Fukushima atomic crisis.

The sea of people illuminated the evening gloom as they surrounded the legislature in Tokyo, the latest development in a snowballing protest movement of the type not seen in sedate Japan for decades.

The protesters are demanding that Japan abandon nuclear power and their movement has been galvanised by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's recent decision to resume using atomic energy after a total shutdown.

Organisers put the number of protesters at 200,000, but police told local media that there were between 10,000 and 20,000 people.

With many clad in gas masks and white protective suits similar to those used in decontamination work at the crippled Fukushima plant, the demonstrators earlier took part in a noisy march through the capital to the parliament.

To the noise of drumming on yellow barrels emblazoned with atomic waste warning symbols, they chanted "we don't need nuclear power" and "stop operating nuclear plants".

"After the Fukushima disaster, I thought that the government and vested interests were telling us lies about nuclear power being safe," said protester Miho Igarashi, 46, an architect from Ibaraki prefecture south of Fukushima.

"We have to raise our voices against" the danger of atomic power, she told AFP.

The rally is the latest in a string of protests in Japan, which has seen a rising tide of anti-nuclear sentiment since Noda in June ordered the restart of two reactors.

Noda defended the move citing looming power shortages after Japan switched off its 50 nuclear reactors -- which provided the resource-poor country with a third of its energy -- in the wake of the Fukushima disaster.

Weekly demonstrations outside the prime minister's residence have drawn tens of thousands of people and a rally in west Tokyo earlier this month saw a crowd that organisers claimed was about 170,000-strong.

The march earlier Sunday took place in high temperatures under a blazing sun, and the crowd included families with small children.

"I decided to join the protest because nuclear reactors are resuming even though their safety is not guaranteed," said Sayaka Suzuki, 28, who was with her three-year-old daughter.

The latest rally comes less than a week after a damning government-backed report on last year's crisis said Japanese officials and Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO), operator of the crippled Fukushima plant, ignored the risk of an atomic accident because they believed in the "myth of nuclear safety".

A separate parliamentary report said the worst nuclear accident in a generation was a man-made disaster, marked by a lack of oversight and collusion between TEPCO, the government and regulators.

The giant utility largely cleared itself of blame, saying the size of last year's earthquake and tsunami was beyond all expectations and could not have reasonably been foreseen.

A 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, crippled cooling equipment at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, triggering meltdowns that spewed radioactivity and forced tens of thousands of residents to flee.

The rising anti-nuclear sentiment in Japan has also led to the launch of Greens Japan, a political organisation aiming to field candidates with an environmental agenda in parliamentary elections.

"A party that strongly pursues environmental policies is needed," Akira Miyabe, the group's 59-year-old deputy head, was quoted by Kyodo News as saying at an inaugural meeting on Saturday.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • McCain seeks defence funding to help Asia against China challenges
    McCain seeks defence funding to help Asia against China challenges

    By David Brunnstrom WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A leading U.S. senator has proposed that the United States provide hundreds of millions of dollars to help train and equip the armed forces of Southeast Asian countries faced with Chinese territorial challenges. Republican Senator John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, made the proposal in an amendment to the 2016 U.S. Defense Authorization Act expected to be passed later this year, entitled the South China Sea Initiative. It …

  • US missile cruiser docks at Subic
    US missile cruiser docks at Subic

    A US Navy missile cruiser has dropped anchor in Subic Bay as part of “routine port call,” amid rising tension in the West Philippine Sea stirred by China’s island building activities and other threatening moves by its forces. The arrival of the Ticonderoga-class missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG-67) at the Subic Bay Freeport in Olongapo City yesterday was “just a routine port visit for ship replenishment and routine maintenance of shipboard system,” said Philippine Navy Public Affairs Office …

  • Agri, power sectors should brace for El Niño
    Agri, power sectors should brace for El Niño

    The agriculture and power sectors, as well as the general public should brace for a prolonged El Niño phenomenon that could further reduce water supply for electricity and irrigation, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) warned yesterday. Flaviana Hilario, acting deputy administrator for research and development of PAGASA, said the El Niño condition is expected to intensify from weak to moderate by August this year. Anthony Lucero, …

  • China to US: Help cool down Phl on sea row
    China to US: Help cool down Phl on sea row

    The US should help “cool down” the Philippines and realize that its meddling in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) dispute would only stir tensions, a Chinese newspaper reported. “Washington should know its meddling in the South China Sea has been destabilizing the region. The US has vowed not to take sides in the territorial dispute, which involves China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan. …

  • No stopping K to 12 despite SC case, protests
    No stopping K to 12 despite SC case, protests

    K to 12 is the fruit of years of comprehensive consultations involving different sectors in education,” Aquino said during the launching of the program at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City. Organized by the Department of Education (DepEd), the launch was attended by teachers, students and representatives from different stakeholders supportive of the K to 12 program. It was held two years after the signing of Republic Act 10533, or the Enhanced Basic Education …

  • MNLF pushes review of peace pact with gov’t
    MNLF pushes review of peace pact with gov’t

    The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) maintained its bid for completion of the tripartite review of the implementation of the peace agreement with the Philippine government in 1996. The MNLF’s desire to put consensual closure to the tripartite effort was relayed by its leaders to Sayed El-Masry, the special envoy of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), during the annual foreign ministers conference in Kuwait last Thursday. The MNLF peace agreement with the government in Sept. 2, …

  • Noy to raise sea dispute issue with Abe
    Noy to raise sea dispute issue with Abe

    President Aquino is expected to raise the West Philippine Sea dispute during his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Japan next week. Aquino will leave for Tokyo on June 2 for a state visit until June 5. The President’s visit would boost relations between the two countries on all aspects including defense and security, according to Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary for Asian and Pacific Affairs Minda Cruz. …

  • CHED releases wrong data on tuition hike
    CHED releases wrong data on tuition hike

    The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) appears to have released erroneous data on the allowed tuition and other fee increases in Metro Manila for the incoming academic year. On the list of the 51 approved higher education institutions (HEI) allowed to impose hikes, CHED pegged the average increase in tuition at P32.34 per unit and the average increase in other fees at P34.79. However, a Philippine STAR re-computation showed that the actual average approved tuition increases in Metro …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options