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Protests in Japan as nuclear reactor restarts via Al Jazeera

Dozens of protesters in Japan have shouted and danced at the gate of a nuclear power plant after it restarted, the first to go back online since the country shut down all of its reactors for safety checks following the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Ohi nuclear plant’s reactor No 3, in the western Fukui Prefecture, returned to operation on Sunday evening despite a deep division in public opinion.

Last month, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda ordered the restarts of reactors No 3 and nearby No 4, saying people’s living standards cannot be maintained without nuclear energy.

Many citizens are against a return to nuclear power because of safety fears after the Fukushima accident in March last year.

Crowds of tens of thousands of people had gathered on Friday evening around Noda’s official residence, chanting, “Saikado hantai,” or “No to nuclear restarts.”

Protests drawing such numbers are extremely rare in Japan, often known for orderly conformity.

A demonstration in Tokyo protesting against the restart and demanding Noda resign was planned in a major park on Sunday.

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