More than 170,000 protesters filled a Tokyo park on Monday to rally against the government’s decision to restart some of the nation’s nuclear reactors. This is the largest gathering of anti-nuclear protesters since the Fukushima disaster early last year.
Polls have shown that public opinion on nuclear power in Japan is still pretty divided, but after Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda decided last month to put reactors back to use, tens of thousands of protesters have started gathering every week to shout in front of Noda’s official residence.
Organizers of these anti-nuclear rallies have gone to great lengths to ensure that all activity is peaceful and inclusive. There are family-friendly areas for protesters with children, and they ask that everyone cooperate with the local police by leaving at 8:00 p.m. sharp. They’re even offering pamphlets with advice on what to bring, advice for shy participants, and guidelines on what to do if others begin getting out of hand.
Before Fukushima, nuclear power supplied nearly one-third of Japan’s electricity. Almost all reactors are now offline or undergoing maintenance checks. Japanese leaders made a pledge last year to not restart any nuclear plants without local approval, and it wasn’t until Prime Minister Noda made this move that officials really realized the outrage it would cause.
Support for nuclear power remains divided, but it appears that on both sides, whether in favor of doing away with nuclear power or expressing concern over power shortages, everyone appears to be on board with more stringent inspections of reactors.
via NY Times