No Nukes Festa In Tokyo

Some 7000 people gathered in Tokyo last Sunday for an unusually big demonstration against nuclear power. The event was the culmination of lots of planning involving activists from all over Japan. For a country that depends to such a high degree on nuclear power, it is strange that so many accidents happen, and that there is so much discontent.

Speakers included local activists against controversial nuclear power plants around Japan, such as the Rokkasho reprocessing plant, the Hamaoka nuclear plants, the Kashiwasaki-Kariwa nuclear plants, and the campaign against high-level radioactive waste in Gifu prefecture. Victims from the accident at JCO in Ibaraki talked about the risks and participants heard an emotional appeal from peace activists and cyclists who noted the sense of insecurity among people living near nuclear facilities, and their concern for their health and the environment.

Read more about the No Nukes Festa over at Consumers Union of Japan

Many nuclear projects are taking place far away from Tokyo, such as the MOX fuel shipment in Saga Prefecture earlier this year (Green Action also has photos here), and of course the Rokkasho reprocessing plant in Aomori Prefecture. Mizuho Fukushima, Minister of State for Consumer Affairs and Food Safety, Social Affairs, and Gender Equality, attended together with several other lawmakers. Many local anti-nuclear activists are hoping that the new central government will listen more to their concerns.

Citizens' Nuclear Information Center has much more (I like the new website!). CNIC's Baku Nishio writes:

After winning a landslide victory in the House of Representatives election held on August 30, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) has formed a coalition government with the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the People's New Party (PNP). It might be hoped that a change of government would herald a change of nuclear energy policy, but we should not be too sanguine about the chances of a significant improvement. There is a wide range of views about nuclear energy within the DPJ (as indeed there is in the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which ruled Japan for most of the last fifty odd years). While minor coalition partner SDP favors a nuclear phase out, its influence on nuclear policy within the new government is likely to be quite limited. PNP is a relatively recent breakaway from the LDP and is unlikely to rock the boat on nuclear energy issues.

The prospects for policy change are likely to depend very much on the ability of civil society to make serious proposals that have the potential to garner widespread support.


CNIC: Nuclear Energy Policy Under a New Government

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