Demonstrators against nuclear power marked January 14 as the 1000th consecutive day of their protest, which started April 2011, a month after the Fukushima disaster. Staying outside the head office of the Kyushu Electric Power Co., they continued to rally against the use of nuclear power day after day. Some even staging round-the-clock protests during the first month after the accident.
67-year old rally organizer Yukinobu Aoyagi received an email from a hibakusha, or a survivor of the Nagasaki atomic bombing in 1945. The email detailed the person’s regret in his indifference to the generation of nuclear energy, despite his opposition to nuclear weapons. This prompted Aoyagi to start the protest against the electric company. He said that, “humans cannot live side by side with nuclear energy,” and further called that “never again should lives be threatened and livelihood deprived” because of nuclear power use. This is not the first time the former theology student and social studies teacher has been involved in social issues in Japan. He has been very active in pushing for support of ethnic Korean and other foreign workers in Japan since the 1970s.
More than 3,000 people have signed their support for Aoyagi’s cause, including plaintiffs in nuclear lawsuits and Kyushu shareholders opposed to nuclear power. Protests are held every weekdays from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM in front of Kyushu’s head office with banners saying, “Let’s stop nuclear plants,” with supporters enduring the scorching summer heat and chilly winter. Square canopies measuring 2.5 meters are the only protection for the demonstrators, and have already been replaced three times since they began.
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