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Break with Nuclear Power
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60,000 gather in Tokyo to break away from nuclear power generation

September 20,2011
Nearly 60,000 people from across the country on September 19 converged at a rally in central Tokyo to break away from nuclear power generation and build a sustainable society.

Responding to the appeal from nine leading figures, including Nobel Prize-winning writer Oe Kenzaburo, many individuals as well as various organizations joined in the rally.

Tens of thousands of people flocked to the 57,000-square meter Meiji Park, so many that a number of them had to rally outside the park. It was the first time in decades that the park was swamped with such a large crowd.

One of the initiators, journalist Kamata Satoshi expressed concerns about the move by Prime Minister Noda Yoshihiko to restart operations of nuclear power plants, saying, “The safety and credibility of nuclear power plants have already been undermined. Restarting their operations will go against the public will.”

Author Sawachi Hisae emphasized that human beings are incapable of controlling nuclear energy and said, “Let us build a human barrier made up of men and women of all ages.”

Hubert Weiger, representative of a German environmental group, pointed out that breaking away from nuclear energy only needs the political will to do so.

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shi Kazuo, Secretariat Head Ichida Tadayoshi, and House of Representatives member Kasai Akira also took part in the rally and talked to numerous participants.

After the rally, participants marched in demonstration through Tokyo’s three central shopping and business areas.

Onizuka Kiyoshi, a 31-year-old participant, left Fukuoka Prefecture at five in the morning to participate in the rally. He said, “I have come to realize that fear about nuclear power plants is not just other people’s problem after my daughter was born recently. From this day forward, I am going to take part in the movement to call for total withdrawal from nuclear power dependence.”

Among groups participating were the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren), the National Trade Union Council (Zenrokyo), the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo), independent unions, and other democratic and civic groups, including the Japan Federation of Democratic Medical Institutions (Min-iren).

* * *

People across the country organized similar actions on the same day.

In Nagoya City in Aichi Prefecture, 2,000 people staged a rally where they adopted an appeal calling on Prime Minister Noda Yoshihiko to immediately reform government nuclear policy to one aiming to phase out nuclear power generation.” After the rally, people marched through the downtown area to the head office of Chubu Electric Power Co. Kaga Rie (29) came with her baby and was pushing the baby carriage in the demonstration. She said, “It takes hundreds of thousands of years to finally dispose of spent nuclear fuel. This single fact is enough for me to oppose nuclear power generation. I want to be part of efforts to stop the operations of nuclear power plants.”

In Nagasaki City in Nagasaki Prefecture, 600 people held a rally and demonstration. JCP Nagasaki Prefectural Committee Chair Yamashita Mitsuaki was one of the participants.

In Fukuoka Prefecture, the JCP Fukuoka Prefectural Committee carried out a campaign activity at 120 locations across the prefecture. JCP members took to the streets to raise public awareness and collect signatures to demand a total withdrawal from nuclear power generation.

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