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Finance GreenWatch » 8.Eathquake & Nuclear accident » Antinuclear protestors march through Tokyo, surround Diet building(Mainichi)

Antinuclear protestors march through Tokyo, surround Diet building(Mainichi)

Tens of thousands of angry citizens from all walks of life marched through Tokyo and surrounded the Diet building under scorching heat on July 29, demanding the government scrap its decision to reactivate nuclear reactors and break its dependence on nuclear power once and for all.

The mass antinuclear rally, organized by the Metropolitan Coalition Against Nukes, which has urged ordinary citizens to gather in front of the Prime Minister’s Office every Friday to protest against nuclear power, kicked off at Hibiya Park at around 3:30 p.m. The demonstrators then marched in central Tokyo where government offices are concentrated to the headquarters of Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the operator of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, and the Diet building.

Chanting antinuclear slogans such as “Stop nuclear power!” and “We oppose the reactivation of nuclear reactors,” the demonstrators, including children, housewives and elderly people, filled about 1.3 kilometers of streets surrounding the Diet building at 7 p.m.

Norihide Taniguchi, a 25-year-old senior at Waseda University who took part in the rally with his friends, said, “It is wrong to ignore the lives of evacuees (from the Fukushima nuclear disaster) and reactivate nuclear reactors.”

Yoshihide Furukawa, 61, took part in the demonstration for the first time in 40 years since he took part in a student movement when he was a high school student. Furukawa from Tokyo’s Kunitachi said, “In those days, although I was young, I was thinking of changing the world in my own way. In this demonstration (today), men and women of all ages and various people are freely taking part without any restrictions. The Japan of today is not bad at all.”

The organizers said the number of protesters reached around 200,000, but the Metropolitan Police Department dismissed that figure and said the number was about 17,000.

Temperatures of 35 degrees Celsius or above were recorded at 74 of 927 observation points across the country on July 29, including Tokyo’s Nerima Ward registering 35.3 degrees Celsius. The demonstrators braved the scorching heat to protest against the country’s nuclear policy.

Misao Redwolf, an illustrator and one of the organizers, said, “We have occasionally been criticized for being ‘halfhearted,’ but what is important is to put pressure with a number of people. We would like to try to create an atmosphere in which ordinary citizens can take part and continue to raise our voice in a simple fashion without breaking down.”

There were tumultuous scenes near the Diet building as some protesters drifted onto the streets and were stopped by riot police. Two men, who were believed to be among the demonstrators, were arrested on the spot on suspicion of obstructing officers.

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