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Two years after Fukushima, Japan’s nuclear lobby bounces back via Reuters

(Reuters) – The crowds of anti-nuclear protesters have dwindled since Japan’s “Summer of Discontent” last year, and a new government is keen to revive the country’s atomic energy industry, but Morishi Izumita says he is not about to throw in the towel.

“We can’t give up. I’m here every week,” said 64-year-old Izumita, one of hundreds gathered outside the prime minister’s office one Friday nearly two years after a huge earthquake and tsunami triggered the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986 at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi plant.

“We need to be out here protesting. Not giving up is the important thing,” he added, as other activists banged on drums and chanted “Stop nuclear power, protect our children”.

As Japan approaches the second anniversary of the Fukushima disaster on March 11, its anti-nuclear movement appears to be struggling and disgraced pro-nuclear forces are rallying.

Although a recent survey showed some 70 percent of Japanese want to phase out nuclear power eventually, an equal number back their new, pro-nuclear prime minister, Shinzo Abe, who wants to restart off-line reactors if they meet new safety standards as he pushes policies aimed at reviving a long-stagnant economy.

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