Tens of thousands of people crowded into a park in central Tokyo on Monday to protest the use of nuclear power in Japan, highlighting the growing opposition to atomic energy in the country since the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.
The peaceful demonstration took place on Japans national day in an area the size of a large sports field in Yoyogi Park, near the bustling shopping and nightlife district of Shibuya.
The event attracted so many people on a hot July public holiday that many spilled out into the surrounding streets, unable to enter the main area. It brought together a broad mix of Japanese people, from seasoned environmental activists to families who hadnt participated in a protest before.
About 20,000 people gathered in front of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s residence in Tokyo late Friday to protest his decision to restart two nuclear reactors.“No to the restart!” shouted the protestors, who were led by investigative journalist Satoshi Kamata and Nobel Prize-winning author Kenzaburo Oe, who started an anti-nuclear petition that has so far gathered more than 7.5 million signatures.
In an upscale neighborhood where Japanese buy their handbags and smartphones, furious farmers drove their tractors down the main road last week in their latest protest against a controversial, regionwide free-trade pact.
The stunt was an illustration of the way the country’s agricultural forces are pushing up against modern glitz. As Japan nears a self-imposed deadline to decide whether to participate in the U.S.-backed Trans-Pacific Partnership, it must first resolve a clash between farmers who think the pact will ruin them and exporters who want to reach new markets with lower tariffs.
Nine other countries, including the United States, have committed to the agreement, which would eliminate tariffs and trade barriers within 10 years. In Japan, though, the prospect of across-the-board trade liberalization has roused fundamental questions about the nation’s shrinking economy — and which of its sectors, business or agriculture, need the most help.
The Occupy Wall Street protests spreading across the United States landed in Tokyo on Saturday, as hundreds of people gathered to protest against corporate greed and social inequality.
In addition to decrying the widening wealth gap between the nation’s haves and have-nots, demonstrators spoke out on a variety of unrelated topics ranging from nuclear power to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, a free-trade pact promoted by the U.S.
Marching behind a large "Occupy Tokyo" banner, about 300 protesters proceeded to the headquarters of Tokyo Electric Power Co., owner of the radiation-leaking Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant. "Dissolve Tepco," "Stop nuclear power plants," they chanted.
The various signs, written in both Japanese and English, highlighted some of the issues apparently agitating the public.
Thousands of anti-nuclear protesters marched in Japan on Saturday, three months after an earthquake and tsunami triggered the worst nuclear disaster in 25 years, urging the government to cut reliance on atomic power.Three reactors went into meltdown after the earthquake hit the Fukushima Daiichi plant in northeastern Japan, forcing 80,000 residents to evacuate from its vicinity as engineers battled radiation leaks, hydrogen explosions and overheating fuel rods.Company workers, students and parents with children on their shoulders rallied across Japan, venting their anger at the governments handling of the crisis, carrying flags bearing the words "No Nukes!" and "No More Fukushima."
In a country where you don’t hang a flag outside your home in fear of being called an extremist, Japan rallied and protested with flags held high in the streets of Shibuya. Yet, none of the major television networks in Japan aired any coverage of the event.