Anti-nuclear protesters turned out in droves Nov. 11 to mark 20 months since the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
Braving heavy rain, an estimated 7,000 protesters gathered in front of the Diet building in Tokyo to step up opposition to restarts of nuclear reactors and to the nation's reliance on nuclear power generation.
Author Keiko Ochiai also attended, along with several Diet members and other high-profile anti-nuclear advocates.
The rally was an extension of weekly demonstrations held near the prime minister’s office in the Nagatacho district every Friday and organized by the Metropolitan Coalition Against Nukes, a confederation of anti-nuclear groups and individuals.
Chanting “No to restarts” and other slogans, the protesters marched toward the front gate of the Diet building, the prime minister’s office and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, which oversees the nuclear industry.
Haruyuki Kato, a Tokyo resident who rides a bicycle with an anti-nuclear sign displayed prominently, said the Oi plant in Fukui Prefecture should go offline immediately.
Kato, 59, cited concerns about a fault under the plant that could be active.
Kato, the owner of a soba noodle shop in Suginami Ward, has attended the demonstrations almost every week since June.
“We will continue to come here until the government acts on our request,” he said.
Two reactors at the Oi plant were brought back online in July amid fears of power shortages in the Kansai region this summer. It is the only nuclear facility in Japan to be reactivated after the reactor meltdowns in Fukushima triggered by the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami.
The recently established Nuclear Regulation Authority, a watchdog body, is set to carry out new surveys at the plant to determine whether the fault is active.
The demonstration lasted for several hours and wound up around 7 p.m.
It was held after the Tokyo metropolitan government refused to allow the protesters to gather in Hibiya Park, a large open area in the vicinity of Nagatacho, citing possible inconvenience to other gatherings being held in the park.
The participants had planned to congregate at the park first before their march toward the Diet building and other government offices.
(This article was written by Hideshi Nishimoto and Takuya Sumikawa.）
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