Three years after the 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima, and news of possible restart of offline reactors abound, anti-nuclear demonstrators staged their 100th rally in the country’s capital last Friday. The demonstration was initiated by the Metropolitan Coalition Against Nukes, which are calling for a halt and permanent decommissioning of the reactors at the Sendai power plant.
The protest, which has become a weekly occurrence, used to draw as many as 200,000 participants in one night, a year after the incident in Fukushima. However, as years pass by, fewer people seem to attend the protests, and the organizers attribute it to the pro-nuclear movement, which has been deflecting the spotlight on other issues aside from nuclear concerns. Even writer Kaoru Tamakura, who has been a staunch advocate of the anti-nuclear movement, believes many politicians are suppressing debate on the issue of nuclear energy to get people into thinking the matter is not urgent anymore.
But the Tokyo movement remains dedicated in continuing the rallies despite the dwindling attendants. Historical professor at Keio University, Eiji Oguma, said continuing the rallies are important as “it can visualize and serve as a flag to lead the people.” He added, “because there is much public support for the abolishment of nuclear power, movements such as this can eventually affect the course for the country.”