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Sayonara Genpatsu - goodbye nuclear power plants

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Tens of thousands of Japanese protesters under the banner of "NO NUKE " (No to nuclear technology ) took to the streets of Tokyo on Sunday, October 13. Japanese anti-nuclear groups began gathering at noon on Sunday in Hibiya Koen park. Anti-nuclear movement leaders such as the famous Japanese writer and Nobel Prize winner, Kenzaburo Oe, at the helm were giving speeches from 1 pm at the Hibiya Kaikan building. The crowd of several thousand protesters with banners and anti-nuclear flags  gathered in the park, occupying every lane, and Kenzaburo Oe 's speech was broadcasted through loudspeakers throughout the whole park.

A variety of anti-nuclear groups came to the protest, mostly those which operate locally, but there were also several organizations that have been active throughout the country, such as the ‘No Nuke Zenkoku Network’ (NAZEN), and also a group called ‘No Nukes Asia Actions’ ( NNAA ), which extends its
reach into the whole Asia.

The president of NNAA in Japan, Choi Seungkoo, told us that the he managed to collect more than 100 people who have brought in court a class action lawsuit of fraud and negligence, resulting in terrible disaster in Fukushima against Hitachi, General Electric and Toshiba- the builders of Fukushima Daiichi. NNAA also collaborates with anti-nuclear movements in Mongolia, Vietnam, South Korea, and even in Lithuania, anywhere where people oppose to the introduction of nuclear power or, in the case of Mongolia, and Vietnam, are resisting attempts to ship radioactive waste from other countries into their territories.

Among the anti-nuclear protesters in Tokyo there were mostly elderly people and pensioners, yet, a number of youth bands and musical groups cheered the march.

After 3 pm the protesters took to the streets and began to march towards the ministerial buildings. Banners with slogans such as "Kodomo o mamoro" ( Protect children) , or " Genpatsu Sayonara" ( Goodbye to nuclear power plants ), carried around reflected the concern for the health and lives of children having been living in a contaminated environments since 2011 and the firm opposition to nuclear power .

So far, the Japanese media have not paid much attention to the anti-nuclear protests, despite the fact that they have been regularly held in Tokyo every month. This time, ‘Asahi Shimbun’ made mention of the march and said that it numbered 40,000 participants. ‘The Japan Times’, another popular English-language newspaper, also cited 40,000 people as the number of participants. Newspapers also mentioned that at present all nuclear power plants are shutdown, thus it seems some of the demands of the antinuclear movement have been implemented. Nevertheless, still both, Prime Minister Abe and the Japanese government still do not understand the gravity of the situation associated with the disaster in Fukushima.

Translation: Fabiola Tsugami

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