Day 506.1 Coverage of the 29 July citizens’ chain around the Diet

Lots of coverage on yesterday’s protests around the Diet:

Anti-nuke protesters surround Japanese parliament

YURI KAGEYAMA, AP Business Writer
Updated 05:25 a.m., Sunday, July 29, 2012

TOKYO (AP) — Thousands of people formed “a human chain” around Japan’s parliament complex Sunday to demand the government abandon nuclear power — the latest in a series of peaceful demonstrations on a scale not seen in the nation for decades.

Also Sunday, voters went to the polls in a closely watched election for governor of southwestern Yamaguchi prefecture, where an outspoken anti-nuclear candidate was running. Japanese media reported his loss late Sunday, citing exit polls, although official results had not been tallied.

Protesters said they were angry the government restarted two reactors earlier this month despite safety worries after the multiple meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in March last year. The reactors were the first to return to operation since May, when the last of Japan’s 50 working reactors went offline for routine checks.

Banging on drums and waving balloons and banners, protesters marched from a Tokyo park and lined up along the streets around the parliament building chanting, “Saikado hantai,” or “No to restarts,” and later lit candles.

“All these people have gotten together and are raising their voices,” said Shoji Kitano, 64, a retired math teacher who was wearing a sign that read, “No to Nukes.”

Kitano said he had not seen such massive demonstrations since the 1960s. He stressed that ordinary Japanese usually don’t demonstrate, but were outraged over the restarting of nuclear power.

Similar demonstrations have been held outside the prime minister’s residence every Friday evening. The crowds have not dwindled, as people get the word out through Twitter and other online networking. A July 16 holiday rally at a Tokyo park, featuring a rock star and a Nobel laureate, drew nearly 200,000 people.

The crowd appeared to be smaller Sunday. Kyodo News service estimated it at about 10,000 people. Participants said they came from across Japan, underlining the widespread appeal of the protests.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda defended his decision to restart the two reactors at Ohi nuclear plant in central Japan as necessary to maintain people’s living standards. Other reactors are also expected to go back online, one by one.

Reports from government and legislative investigations of the Fukushima disaster have done little to allay people’s fears. A recent probe blamed a “Japanese mind-set” which it said had allowed collusion between the plant’s operator and regulators.

Adding to protesters’ frustrations is the support nuclear power has received from regional governments where the plants are located. They said they planned to vote anti-nuclear candidates into office to effect change.

Typically, relatively poor rural and fishing areas, far from Tokyo, have been chosen for construction of nuclear plants, with residents won over with jobs and subsidies. There is a plan to build a nuclear plant in Yamaguchi prefecture, but doubts are growing over whether that can be carried out.

Tetsunari Iida, a candidate in Sunday’s Yamaguchi gubernatorial election, opposes that plan and nuclear power in general. Kyodo and other Japanese media said Iida was defeated by old-guard candidate Shigetaro Yamamoto, a former bureaucrat who is more conciliatory toward the government’s energy policy.

At the Tokyo protest, however, hospital worker Mika Ohta vowed to vote for anti-nuclear candidates in the next election.

“There is nothing good about nuclear power. It is expensive, gets workers radiated and creates waste,” she said. “I’m opposed to this government in every way.”

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Follow Yuri Kageyama on Twitter at http://twitter.com/yurikageyama

Read entire article with photos at:

http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Anti-nuke-protesters-surround-Japanese-parliament-3744215.php

An anti-nuclear protester wearing a mask, marches near the Japan’s parliament complex in Tokyo, Sunday, July 29, 2012. Thousands of the protesters rallied to demand the government abandon nuclear power after the accident last year in northern Fukushima. Photo: Shizuo Kambayashi / AP

 

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Japan anti-nuclear groups protest at parliament

(Reuters) – Tens of thousands of people protested against nuclear power outside Japan’s parliament on Sunday, the same day a proponent of using renewable energy to replace nuclear following the Fukushima disaster was defeated in a local election.

The protesters, including old-age pensioners, pressed up against a wall of steel thrown up around the parliament building shouting, “We don’t need nuclear power” and other slogans.

Article continues at:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/29/us-japan-nuclear-demo-idUSBRE86S0DA20120729

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Anti-nuclear rally surrounds Japan parliament

Thousands of protesters form “human chain” to demand government ditch nuclear power after last year’s Fukushima crisis.

Article continues at:

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/asia-pacific/2012/07/201272911125197697.html

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From ENENEWS at:

http://enenews.com/reuters-massive-tokyo-protest-breaks-through-barriers-and-spills-onto-streets-police-forced-to-deploy-armoured-buses-to-buttress-parliaments-gates-photos-videos

 

Reuters: Tokyo protest breaks through barriers and spills onto streets as tens of thousands gather — Police forced to deploy armoured buses to buttress Parliament’s gates (VIDEOS)

UPDATE: NHK: 200,000 people gather in Tokyo say organizers (PHOTOS & VIDEO)

Title: Japan anti-nuclear groups protest at parliament
Source: Reuters
Date: Sun Jul 29, 2012 10:31am EDT

SOURCE: Kyodo News

* Crowd breaks through barriers

[…]

Tens of thousands of people protested against nuclear power outside Japan’s parliament on Sunday

[…]

On the main avenue leading to the assembly, the crowd broke through the barriers and spilled onto the streets, forcing the police to bring in reinforcements and deploy armoured buses to buttress the main parliament gate.

[…]

(see link above for video)

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http://enenews.com/nhk-200000-people-gather-in-tokyo-say-organizers-photos-video

NHK: 200,000 people gather in Tokyo say organizers (PHOTOS & VIDEO)

Follow-up to: Reuters: Tokyo protest breaks through barriers and spills onto streets as tens of thousands gather — Police forced to deploy armoured buses to buttress Parliament’s gates (VIDEOS)

Title: Large anti-nuclear rally held in Tokyo
Source: NHK World
Date: Jul. 29, 2012

A large rally has been held in Tokyo to protest the restart of a nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture.

[…]

They included elderly people and women with children.

[…]

In the evening, they gathered around the Diet building while holding candles. Some scuffles broke out between the protesters and police officers.

[…]

The organizer said 200,000 people took part. Police said the figure was 14,000.

[…]

 (see link above for photos)

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Fukushima Radiation News July 29, 2012 Anti-nuclear rally held in Tokyo Evacuation Drills Protests

(h/t ENENEWS)

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 From the Japan Times at

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120730a1.html

Click on the link for photos.

 

Antinuke demonstrators form human chain around Diet building

Ordinary citizens by the hundreds join activists in human chain

 

By SETSUKO KAMIYA and MIZUHO AOKI
Staff writers

Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people including ordinary citizens and antinuclear activists gathered in Tokyo Sunday afternoon to form a human chain around the Diet building, calling for the abolition of nuclear power plants and putting more pressure on the Cabinet of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda.

In the past, protest rallies around the Diet were usually organized by political parties and labor unions. But like many other rallies organized in the aftermath of the triple meltdowns that erupted in the Fukushima disaster, Sunday’s was attended by many nonactivist citizens.

“This is really a very hot summer, but although none of the nuclear power plants of Tokyo Electric Power Co. are operating, we’re not short of electricity in Tokyo,” said Keiko Ochai, an author who is among the organizers of the rally.

“We have to push for the halting of the Oi nuclear power plant, and need to keep the government from restarting other nuclear power plants,” she said, referring to the nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture at which two reactors have been reactivated following safety checkups mandated in the wake of the Fukushima disaster.

Protesters gathered at around 3:30 p.m. at Hibiya Park in Chiyoda Ward under a scorching sun with hand-made signs and banners in their hands.

After marching roughly 1.5 km through the Uchisaiwaicho district and close to JR Shinbashi station, the protesters surrounded the Diet building holding candles and penlights to put more pressure on lawmakers to stop the planned reactivation of more nuclear reactors.

The organizer, Metropolitan Coalition Against Nukes, an association of antinuclear citizens’ groups, initially planned to provide candles to every participant, but with the number of attendees ballooning, they decided to hand them out only to those who were able to stand near the main entrance of the Diet building.

Some of the participants said they were attending an antinuclear rally for the first time.

Maya Yamaguchi, 25, from Tokyo’s Meguro Ward, said she was concerned about the issue and wanted to hear what others were saying. She signed an antinuclear petition and wrote about it on her Facebook page, which was picked up by her friend, Yuri Inomata, 27, who invited her to join her at the rally.

Inomata, from Sagamihara in Kanagawa Prefecture, now believes that many people have changed their attitudes toward antinuclear demonstrations.

“I think more people realize that this issue concerns ourselves,” she said. “It’s important for us to keep raising our voice,” she said.

Kotaro Kikuchi, 22, a student from Iwate Prefecture, said he travelled to Tokyo on Sunday morning with his friend, but with a somewhat different aim than participating in the rallies.

“I guess most of the people who gathered here want to say ‘no’ to the restart of nuclear reactors. But I came here to say ‘no’ to “fuhyo-higai” (the damage caused by groundless rumors) that the Tohoku region has been suffering from” since the triple-meltdown crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 plant, Kikuchi said.

Kikuchi, who was participating in a demonstration for the first time, said the Tohoku region won’t recover if rumors continue to circulate based on groundless fears of radiation, which he says is making people shy away from the area.

“I’ve heard that some boards of education decided not to choose Tohoku as a destination for school trips,” Kikuchi said. “When I heard that, I really thought we have to raise our voices. Otherwise, Iwate Prefecture won’t be revitalized.”

Kikuchi said that the nuclear crisis that led to the rumors and subsequent damage should never be allowed to happen again.

Laurent Mabesoone, 43, a French haiku poet from Nagano Prefecture, said he and his wife, Toyo, 42, and their 4-year-old daughter also arrived in Tokyo on Sunday morning to participate in the rally. Living only 60 km away from the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in Niigata Prefecture, he expressed his opposition to restarting idled power plants.

“If the same kind of accident happens at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant, it’d all be over. We should not allow the restart of the power plant,” he said.

Mabesoone said he kicked off an antinuclear campaign in Nagano Prefecture on Friday. “Over 100 people gathered. We will continue to hold the demonstration in Nagano every Friday to coincide with Tokyo. . . . From reactions on Twitter and Facebook, I guess the number will grow more,” Mabesoone said.

“I believe it’s time to raise our voices. Otherwise, there won’t be a future for us,” his wife said.

If we continue to raise our voices, our wishes will eventually be heard by the government, she added.

 

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