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Two Voices Are Heard After Years of Futility via The New York Times

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Published: August 19, 2011

ONE is a self-effacing lawyer with an upbeat outlook and an easy smile, the other a firebrand lawmaker willing to stare down the rich and the powerful. Together, Yuichi Kaido and Mizuho Fukushima are perhaps the country’s most prominent pair of antinuclear activists.

For three decades, the couple were at the forefront of an often futile fight against the utilities that operated the nation’s reactors, the corporations that built and maintain them and the politicians and bureaucrats who enabled them. Yet in case after case, judges rejected Mr. Kaido’s claims that Japan’s nuclear reactors were dangerous. In Parliament, the nuclear lobby routinely carried the day, casting aside the antinuclear platform of Ms. Fukushima’s Socialist Party.

That stasis was shattered by the tsunami that wrecked the reactors at the Daiichi power plant in Fukushima. An overwhelming number of Japanese, for years ambivalent about nuclear power, are now calling for the country’s remaining reactors to be shut down. Politicians, even those backed by the nuclear industry, are scrambling to reposition themselves.

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