A citizens group behind a drive to collect 10 million signatures to end Japan's reliance on nuclear power is three-quarters of the way to its goal.
To date, 7,481,352 citizens have signed the "10 Million People's Petition to say Goodbye to Nuclear Power Plants," the group said June 12.
The same day, it submitted the signatures of 1.8 million people to Lower House Speaker Takahiro Yokomichi.
It plans to file the remainder to Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and the Upper House speaker shortly.
The decision to spread the signatures was intended to press upon these key politicians the groundswell of public opposition to nuclear power following the disaster last year at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
One of the most prominent organizers of the drive is Kenzaburo Oe, a Nobel laureate for literature.
After submitting the signatures, the group held a meeting at the First Members' Office Building of the Lower House. Some 40 lawmakers who support their activities attended.
Naoto Kan, who was prime minister at the time of the nuclear crisis, said: "The next 12 months will be crucial in firmly setting the nation on a course toward denuclearization. We don't want to leave nuclear plants to our children and grandchildren."
Author Keiko Ochiai, who also helped organize the initiative, urged the government and the Diet to move swiftly in renouncing nuclear policy.
"At least 7.48 million people are closely watching whether each (politician) is against nuclear plants," she said.
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