While not as large as the Tokyo rally a few weeks ago, another significant protest against the Japanese government’s return to the use of nuclear power took place on Sunday. Tens of thousands gathered and formed a human chain around the parliament building in downtown Tokyo, shouting slogans like “we don’t need nuclear power!” The crowd grew so large that at one point they broke through steel barriers protecting the building, requiring police to call in reinforcements and use armored vehicles to reinforce and protect the main gate.
This rally came a day after a Yamaguchi Prefecture election in which Tetsunari Iida, a candidate who supported the use of renewable energies to replace nuclear power, lost in his bid to become governor. He was defeated by a candidate backed by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), who have promoted nuclear power for decades. Iida said he would work to have Japan end its use of nuclear power by the year 2020, and promised to boost the prefecture’s economy by focusing on renewable energy projects, as well as rejecting a new nuclear plant to be built in Kaminoseki.
The Tokyo rallies have been held on a weekly basis for months now, each time growing in size, and until now have been held in front of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s office building. This was the first week that protesters ranging from the young to seniors collecting their pensions made their voices heard at the parliament building. One elderly woman said that they will remain opposed to the dangers of nuclear power. Prime Minister isn’t listening to what the people of Japan want, only to big corporations, she added.