With all the nation's 50 nuclear reactors offline, an estimated 40,000 people attended a series of demonstrations in central Tokyo on Oct. 13 organized by three anti-nuclear civic groups to express their opposition to the government's push for restarts.
In the events called "One for No Nukes,” participants raised their voices in protest, saying, “No to restarts.”
The Metropolitan Coalition against Nukes organized the protests along with two civic groups “Sayonara Genpatsu 1,000 mannin Action” (Good-bye to nuclear power through action by 10 million people) and “Genpatsu wo Nakusu Zenkoku Renrakukai” (National conference on abolishing nuclear power plants).
At a rally held in the early afternoon at Tokyo Metropolitan Hibiya Public Hall in Chiyoda Ward, Nobel Prize-winning writer Kenzaburo Oe, a member of Sayonara Genpatsu 1,000 mannin Action, appealed for more efforts to stop the first restart of any of the reactors.
“If an opportunity to restart the nuclear reactors is given at some point in six months or a year, it will be impossible to push back the momentum to the restarting of the nuclear plants,” he said.
After the rally, protesters marched nearby to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry office as well as the head office of Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the devastated Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
Mayuko Mizuno, an office worker, brought her 3-year-old daughter to the demonstrations.
“I am concerned about my daughter's future as I am afraid that the operation of the nuclear reactors will restart little by little,” said Mizuno, 39.
She added, “I’d like to keep raising my voice (against the restart of the reactors).”
No nuclear reactors have been operating since the only reactor running at Kansai Electric Power Co.'s Oi nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture was taken offline Sept. 15 for routine inspections.
However, five electric power companies, including TEPCO, have applied to the Nuclear Regulation Authority for safety examinations required for restarting 14 of the 50 nuclear reactors. The administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says it will approve restarts of the reactors that are deemed safe by the NRA.
(This article was written by Katsuhei Kawamura and Daisuke Shimizu.)
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