Protesters Come Out in Record Numbers Against Nuclear Power

A large and diverse crowd, constituting of citizens from all over Japan as well as a large number of foreigners, assembled in Central Tokyo yesterday for the “Goodbye Nuclear Power Plants” rally.

Several anti-nuclear power celebrities, including Nobel laureate and author Kenzaburo Oe, musician Ryuichi Sakamoto, freelance journalist Satoshi Kamata, and author Keiko Ochiai were in attendance. The latter three, according to the Japan Times coverage, participated as architects of the event.

The number in attendance was, predictably, debated; according to an article in Seattle PI, “Police estimated the crowd at 20,000 people, while organizers said there were three times that many people.” The Japan Times also reported the 60,000 estimate.

The reported number of attendees marked a fairly dramatic increase from the supposed turnouts of prior events, including the April 10th protest in Koenji (the first major anti-nuclear protest that was held in Tokyo after the 3/11 earthquake), and the May and June protests – all of which were considerably smaller (though no less passionate).

The photos below were taken by Onnie Koski at the June 11th protest in Shinjuku, which various sources estimated had a turnout of ~10,000 people.

Amy Seaman contributed to this article.

Note: As mentioned above, these photos were taken from the June 11th protest and are posted to give a sense of what the protests have been like up to now. If you have any photos of the most recent protests, submissions are highly welcome.

the police prepare for the event
demonstrators came out with hand-made signs and balloons
people of all ages and nationalities were present
several musicians attending bringing instruments such as trumpets and snare drums
some signs echoed the anger citizens reported when interviewed at the rally - anger that is particularly directed at TEPCO and the government

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Stephanie Nakajima

Stephanie Nakajima

Contrarian philosopher, half-woman, half-Japanese, all dolphin.

4 thoughts on “Protesters Come Out in Record Numbers Against Nuclear Power”

  1. good to see “Japan” returning to its roots.

    there has never been a “consensual society”. that is a complete myth.

    There were peasant revolts under Tokugawa, and social unrest (frequently very violent, even para-military) has been a constant feature of Japan’s modernization since Meiji, from the 1880s to around the late 1920s, and again from August 15 1945 (mining slave revolt in Hokkaido) to around 1968, with some anti-Vietnam war stuff continuing into the early 1970s.

    things only quietened down ‘completely’ (lots of localised disputes continued) on the mainland with high growth in the mid 1970s (Okinawans of course have been much more active, remember 1995).
    easy to forget. many don’t even know.

    hopefully more to come (of the non-violent variety, I should stress).

  2. good point Piers. It’s always nice to include the historical perspective. I will try to post ahead of time the date/location of the next protest, so that readers of the blog residing in Japan can make it!

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