Japan’s people set example to school children; say no to nuclear power

| November 8, 2011 | 0 Comments

The impact of the 11 March 2011 crisis in Japan, when a tsunami caused core meltdowns at three reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi complex, has made itself felt.

In late September, thousands of Japanese citizens, including schoolchildren and teachers, took to Tokyo’s streets in the nation’s largestever protest march, waving banners and chanting “Sayonara nuclear power”. They marched to call on Japan’s government to abandon atomic energy in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear accident.

Many carried banners apologising to the global community for radiation threats. The disaster – the worst global nuclear accident since Chernobyl – saw radiation spewed across a wide part of north-eastern Japan, forcing the evacuation of some 100 000 people who lived near the plant and raising fears of contamination in everything from fruit and vegetables to fish and water. Many of those evacuated from around the plant remain uncertain about when – if ever – they will be able to return to their homes.

Before the disaster, this earthquake-prone country derived 30% of its electricity from nuclear power. Yet Japan is also a resource-poor nation, making finding viable alternative forms of energy complex and time consuming. Mari Joh, a 64-year-old woman who travelled from Hitachi city to join the march, told reporters “If the government doesn’t act decisively now to set a new course, we’ll just continue with the status quo. I want to use natural energy, like solar, wind and biomass.”

Before the march, protesters gathered in Meiji Park to hear speakers like Reiko Muto, an hibakusha – an emotional term for survivors of the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II. Author Kenzaburo Oe, who won the Nobel literature prize in 1994 and has campaigned for pacifist and antinuclear causes, also addressed the crowd.

Category: Summer 2011

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