A rally outside Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's office in Tokyo drew about 90,000 protesters demanding an end to the government's push to reopen nuclear power plants on Aug. 10, organizers said.
Despite the passage of a bill to raise the consumption tax rate in the Diet on the same day, the protesters, who have been gathering on Friday evenings outside the Prime Minister's Official Residence for several months, focused their ire on the Noda government's decision to restart nuclear reactors.
Prior to the demonstration, members of the Metropolitan Coalition against Nukes, the organizer, warned protesters to refrain from making speeches about anything not related to anti-nuclear and denuclearization causes.
Even when Noda held a news conference to announce passage of legislation to raise the consumption tax rate, the demonstrators repeatedly shouted, "Stop restarting nuclear power plants." They also called for the cancellation of key appointments to the nuclear regulatory commission that will be set up in September.
On social network site Twitter, postings urged, "Oppose the consumption tax increase and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (agreement)."
A 51-year-old copywriter in Tokyo's Nerima Ward said: "Nuclear power generation directly effects our lives. The issue is the No. 1 priority for me."
Although Tokyo police did not release an official number for the gathered crowd, an officer said there were about 4,000 people, far short of the organizer's estimate of 90,000.
A similar rally was held at the environment ministry, about 800 meters away from the prime minister's office, on Aug. 10.
Participants, who had responded to a call by an environmental group via the Internet, surrounded the ministry building and formed a "human chain" by holding hands and demanded that the government cancel the personnel appointments for the nuclear regulatory commission.
A demonstrator said, "We are protesting for our children's future."
(This article was written by Takuya Sumikawa and Akiko Tada.)
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