JAPAN: Thousands Reject Nuclear Power in Tokyo Protest

Monday 29 September 2014

Date: 24 September 2014

Type: News

Source: TelesesurTV

Keywords: Nuclear power

"It’s too dangerous," say protesters who fear further disasters, like the 2011 Fukushima leak, if the government pursues plans to reopen nuclear reactors.

“No nukes” and “we don’t need nuclear power” shouted thousands of Japanese people marching in Tokyo on Tuesday.

The catalyst for the march was the decision, earlier in September by Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), to restart two reactors at the Sendal plant in southern Japan.

Weekly protests outside Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s official residence mushroomed, with more than 16,000 activists filling the streets of the Japanese capital city on Tuesday. They carried signs asking “What’s your anti-disaster plan?”

That was in reference to the March 2011 meltdown of a triple reactor at the Fukushima power plant that is etched in the public memory. Protesters say that three years after this catastrophe, authorities have still not done a thoroughgoing analysis of the dangers of nuclear power.

According to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, new safety regulations have been adopted and the NRA only approved the reactivation of the reactors at Sendai after safety requirements were met.

The regulations stipulate that reactors older than 40 years will be decommissioned unless they receive a 20-year extension.

The renewal of the Sendai plant is to be the first step in reopening 48 further reactors.

Prior to March 2011, Japan generated 30 percent of its electrical power from nuclear reactors, but now Japan is currently, “completely dependent on fossil fuels,” says the Prime Minister.

He promises that Japan will not restart closed-down nuclear plants, “unless safety is restored 100%.”

Activists concerned about potential dangers are, however, unconvinced by these reassurances.

At the Tokyo rally on Tuesday, Nobel literature laureate Kenzaburo Oe stated, “Three and a half years has passed since the nuclear accident, but self-examination has yet to be made…The government is going ahead with the plan to resume operation at the Sendai plant without compiling sufficient anti-disaster plans.”###

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