Japan protesters say no to nuclear power

Demonstration comes as nation considers restarting reactors, three years after earthquake triggered a nuclear disaster.

Last updated: 15 Mar 2014 18:07
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
All of the nation's roughly 50 commercial nuclear reactors have gradually been shut down since 2011 [AFP]

Thousands of people in Tokyo have rallied against nuclear power as the government and utilities prepare to restart reactors in southern Japan.

More than 5,000 protesters gathered at Hibiya Park in Tokyo on Saturday to pressure the government not to restart the country's nuclear power stations.

"Japan is prone to earthquakes. We have to seriously think about whether nuclear power is a good idea for Japan," said protester Masatoshi Harada. "This is an opportunity for Japan to drop nuclear power."

Regulators are currently reviewing whether to let Kyushu Electric Power restart two reactors at its Sendai power plant.

Saturday's demonstration came days after the country marked the third anniversary of a 9.0-magnitude earthquake that struck northern Japan in March 2011.

The earthquake prompted a deadly tsunami along the northern Pacific coastline and huge waves swamped cooling systems at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, which went through reactor meltdowns and explosions that spewed radioactive materials into the vast, rural region.

The earthquake and tsunami killed 15,884 people and left 2,633 people still unaccounted for, but no one died as a direct result of the atomic accident.

Japan marks Fukushima disaster anniversary

Supporters of nuclear power, including the prime minister, Shinzo Abe, said Japan needs atomic energy to ensure the economic health of the world's third largest economy.

But protesters argued that the country can live without nuclear power as it has done so for many months.

"Nuclear plants have been closed, so you cannot say we cannot live without nuclear energy," anti-nuclear campaigner Junichi Okano said.

All of the nation's roughly 50 commercial nuclear reactors have gradually been shut down since 2011 and remain offline due to tense public opposition to restarting them.


Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
Swathes of the British electorate continue to show discontent with all things European, including immigration.
Astronomers have captured images of primordial galaxies that helped light up the cosmos after the Big Bang.
Critics assail British photographer's portrayal of indigenous people, but he says he's highlighting their plight.
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
No one convicted after 58 people gunned down in cold blood in 2009 in the country's worst political mass killing.
While hosting the World Internet Conference, China tries Tiananmen activist for leaking 'state secrets' to US website.
Once staunchly anti-immigrant, some observers say the conservative US state could lead the way in documenting migrants.
NGOs say women without formal documentation are being imprisoned after giving birth in Malaysia.
Public stripping and assault of woman and rival protests thereafter highlight Kenya's gender-relations divide.