Japan is expected on Friday to propose abandoning nuclear power by the 2030s, a major shift from policy goals set before last year’s Fukushima disaster that aimed to increase the share of atomic energy to more than half of electricity supply.
But Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s unpopular government, which could face an election this year, also looks set to call in the meantime for the restart of reactors idled after the 2011 disaster if they are deemed safe by a new atomic regulator.
Japan’s growing anti-nuclear movement, which wants an immediate end to atomic power, is certain to oppose any such proposal to secure electricity supplies.
A shift from nuclear means Japan should seal its position as the world’s biggest importer of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and third-largest purchaser of oil to feed its power stations.
Read the rest of the story: Japan seen exiting nuclear by 2030s under new policy.
In a rare personal appeal on national television, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda asked for his nation’s support on Friday in restarting the first of Japan’s idled nuclear plants, saying that keeping the plants offline could cause blackouts and economic chaos at a time when the country’s struggling economy can least afford it.
Mr. Noda spoke to reporters on Friday about restarting nuclear plants.
That Mr. Noda took his case to the public on such an crucial issue, rather than setting policy behind closed doors, is a testament to the deep public distrust gripping the nation since last year’s nuclear disaster and the government’s playing down of the risks it posed. Despite increasingly dire warnings about the economic effects of a sudden turn from nuclear energy, a majority of Japanese remain unconvinced that it is safe to turn the plants back on.
Read the rest of the story: Japan’s Premier Seeks Support for Using Nuclear Power.
Thousands of Japanese marched to celebrate the switching off of the last of their nations 50 nuclear reactors Saturday, waving banners shaped as giant fish that have become a potent anti-nuclear symbol.
Japan was without electricity from nuclear power for the first time in four decades when the reactor at Tomari nuclear plant on the northern island of Hokkaido went offline for mandatory routine maintenance.
After last years March 11 quake and tsunami set off meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, no reactor halted for checkups has been restarted amid public worries about the safety of nuclear technology.
Read the rest of the story: Thousands march as Japan switches off last nuclear reactor.
Novelist and Buddhist nun Jakucho Setouchi joined a hunger strike Wednesday in front of the industry ministry in Tokyo in protest the government’s moves to restart idled reactors at the Oi nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture.
Setouchi, 89, together with writers Hisae Sawachi, 81, and Satoshi Kamata, 73, plans to stage her hunger strike until sunset.
The antinuclear civic group began the hunger strike on April 17 in front of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, which oversees nuclear power plant operators, in Tokyo’s Kasumigaseki district, home to a number of government buildings.
Read the rest of the story: Famed Buddhist nun in antinuclear hunger strike.
For months after a devastating earthquake and tsunami crippled Japan’s Fukushima power plant, sparking fears of a possible nuclear meltdown, the country’s anti-nuclear groups struggled to be heard. A few small rallies were held, but they failed to generate much media coverage. As debates raged from Germany to China about the safety of nuclear reactors, commentary in Japan, of all places, was strangely absent. Protests are just that unusual in this conservative country.
But this is starting to change. As Fukushima continues to spew more radioactivity into the air and trust in the government and Tokyo Electric Power Co. plunges, the mood in Japan is slowly shifting away from nuclear power. On Sept. 19, the mounting anger and fear culminated in a rally of some 60,000 anti-nuclear protesters in Tokyo — the largest such gathering since the March 11 quake and tsunami.
Read the rest of the story: Can Japan’s Anti-Nuclear Protesters Keep the Reactors Shut Down?.
Chanting "Sayonara nuclear power" and waving banners, tens of thousands of people marched in central Tokyo on Monday to call on Japan’s government to abandon atomic energy in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear accident.
The demonstration underscores how deeply a Japanese public long accustomed to nuclear power has been affected by the March 11 crisis, when a tsunami caused core meltdowns at three reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi complex.
The disaster — the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl — saw radiation spewed across a wide part of northeastern Japan, forcing the evacuation of some 100,000 people who lived near the plant and raising fears of contamination in everything from fruit and vegetables to fish and water.
Read the rest of the story: Thousands march against nuclear power in Tokyo.
Twelve anti-nuclear demonstrators were arrested Sept. 11 after clashing violently with riot police in a protest march near Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station, police said.
The Metropolitan Police Department said Shin Futatsugi, the organizer of the demonstration, was taken into custody for violating a Tokyo Metropolitan Government Public Safety Ordinance, and the remaining 11, all men, were arrested for obstructing execution of public duties.
All suspects were part of a crowd of about 2,200 that marched around JR Shinjuku Station to protest Japan’s use of nuclear power generation.
Read the rest of the story: Anti-nuke protesters, riot police clash – 12 arrested.