(Reuters) – Several thousand Japanese anti-nuclear protesters marched in the rain on Saturday, welcoming a call from the prime minister to shut down a plant in central Japan and urging him to close more to avoid another nuclear crisis.
The surprise call from Prime Minister Naoto Kan on Friday to shut down Chubu Electric Power Co’s Hamaoka plant followed pressure on the government to review nuclear energy policy after a March 11 quake and tsunami damaged another plant and triggered the worst disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.
Tens of thousands of residents around the Fukushima Daiichi plant on the northeast coast have been ordered to evacuate after radiation leaks into the air, soil and sea. Radiation checks have led to shipment bans of some vegetables and fish.
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