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HOME  > Past issues  > 2013 March 6 - 12  > Local citizens increase efforts for decommissioning of nuclear power plant
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2013 March 6 - 12 [NUCLEAR CRISIS]

Local citizens increase efforts for decommissioning of nuclear power plant

March 9, 2013
Calling for the decommissioning of the suspended Onagawa nuclear power plant operated by Tohoku Electric Power Co. in Miyagi Prefecture, citizens have strengthened their movements. Citizens’ groups established in areas near the NPP have submitted to the prefecture a total of 81,818 signatures opposing the reactivation of the NPP and seeking withdrawal from nuclear power generation.

In Miyagi’s Onagawa Town hosting the Onagawa NPP, two local groups have jointly carried out signature collection campaigns. They have visited temporary housing complexes in the town and collected 3,000 signatures so far. Japanese Communist Party members of the Onagawa Town Assembly have worked together with them.

One of representatives of the two groups said, “Some people said they cannot sign our anti-nuclear power petition because they used to work at the Onagawa plant, but they encouraged their family members to sign the petition in their stead. They have the same opinion as ours that nuclear power generation should be ended.”

A local group in the Kashimadai district in Osaki City, located 30km from the Onagawa NPP, is working for the closure of the plant. The group was established in March 2012 as the first local group of its kind in the prefecture by initiation of the former town mayor.

Wakai Tsutomu, secretary general of the group, said, “At the time of the 3.11 disaster, almost all external power supply sources were lost at the Onagawa plant. The plant is built at 13.8 meters above sea level, but, at that time, a 13 meter-high tsunami hit Onagawa. If the tsunami had been a little higher, the nuclear reactors there would have gone out of control like at the Fukushima NPP.”

The group sent copies of the anti-nuclear power petition to 140 people who attended the group’s inauguration meeting as part of their signature collection drive.

In the Izumi district in Sendai City, 60km from the plant, a citizens’ group was established in July 2012.

The group collected signatures seeking the withdrawal from nuclear power and the decommissioning of the Onagawa power station from people using various tactics, including semi-monthly street actions and door-to-door canvassing. In the door-to-door signature collection drive, the group focuses on face-to-face dialogue with residents. 80% of those who talked with group members signed the petition.

In concert with the weekly Friday night protest in front of the prime minister’s office, the group in November organized a demonstration with 100 citizens participating, which was the first large public movement for the past three decades in the area.
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