Thousands rally in front of PM’s office to protest Oi nuke reactor restart

Mainichi Daily News, Japan

Thousands of people rallied outside the Prime Minister’s Office on June 29 against the impending restart of the Oi nuclear plant.

Despite the size of the gathering, however, the crowd was peaceful and orderly, with protesters including parents with their children chanting, “No to nuke plant restarts.”

The administration of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has approved the restart of two reactors at the Oi nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture operated by Kansai Electric Power Co., and they are set to go back online on July 1.

As crowds began gathering from around 4 p.m., one could see a great variety of protesters — some came with placards reading, “Absolutely no restart,” while others simply came with their families. There were elderly protesters and others in business suits who had come straight from their offices.

“I’ve never joined a demonstration before, but I can no longer be indifferent,” said Hideyuki Tanaka, 38, a resident of Saitama Prefecture, who joined the rally on his way home from work. “(The protest) didn’t seem to be of a political character, so I wasn’t reluctant to join in.”

Satomi Nakata, 44, a resident of Shizuoka Prefecture taking part in a protest for the first time, joined the rally with her three children aged 6 to 15. “I learned on the Internet that the protest would be peaceful, so I came with my kids,” she said. “All protesters here are simply trying to say that they want a normal life and that they want to protect their children. I share the exact same feelings.”

The demonstration, organized by the civic antinuclear group Metropolitan Coalition Against Nukes via major social networking websites, was the latest in a series of protests held near the Prime Minister’s Office in Tokyo’s Nagatacho district over the past few months. The first demonstration, held prior to the government’s initial April 3 debate on the restart of the Oi plant, drew only about 300 people. The number of demonstrators, however, has increased drastically, with organizers announcing more than 10,000 people had joined a protest on June 15 — the day before the government announced its final decision on the restart of the Oi nuclear plant.

Organizers’ estimates put the June 29 rally at some 200,000 people, though police placed the figure at closer to 17,000.

One organizer going by the name Misao Redwolf said the coalition has worked hard to disassociate the rally from the violent image many associate with public protests, and mount the kind of demonstration that anyone can feel comfortable attending.

At around 6 p.m. the rally began heating up with constant chants of, “No to nuke plant restarts.” An hour later, the crowd had swelled significantly, bursting onto the road in front of the Prime Minister’s Office. Police cars flooded the area as well, and the demonstration — initially planned to run until 8 p.m. — wrapped up 15 minutes early.

“An accident here will not stop the nuclear plant,” Redwolf said through a microphone, urging protesters to calmly return to their homes.

Shortly before 7 p.m., Prime Minister Noda returned to his official residence next to his office. He was quoted by sources as telling his bodyguard that “it’s quite loud,” referring to the demonstrators’ shouts, clearly audible even inside the residence.

Meanwhile, another rally opposing the reactivation of the Oi plant was held in Osaka’s Kita Ward in front of Kansai Electric’s headquarters on the same day. According to organizers, about 2,200 people joined the demonstration.

June 30, 2012(Mainichi Japan)

One Response to “Thousands rally in front of PM’s office to protest Oi nuke reactor restart”

  1. CaptD Says:

    The message is clear but the Japanese Leaders are all in Nuclear Denial* and they are not interested in what the Japanese People want, just Utility Gang profits…

    Liked and Tweeted


    The illogical belief that Nature cannot destroy any land based nuclear reactor, any place anytime 24/7/365!

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: