A large protest rally against nuclear power and controversial security-related legislation, which recently passed the Diet, was held at Yoyogi Park in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward on Sept. 23, with participants promoting a campaign to kick out lawmakers, who voted yes to the security bills and supported the reactivation of nuclear plants.
The assembly, organized by a citizens group working toward zero nuclear power in Japan following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis, is believed to be the largest protest event since the controversial bills were passed into law amid strong opposition. The organizer said some 25,000 people gathered to protest against policies employed by the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
For the first time in its protest rallies, the anti-nuclear power group held opposition to the security legislation as the theme for the Sept. 23 event, where renowned writers, lawyers and those voluntarily evacuating from their homes due to concerns over radiation from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant made speeches.
“It takes courage to voice one’s opinion while revealing their names and faces,” said Jinshiro Motoyama, a member of the youth group “Students Emergency Action for Liberal Democracy-s Ryukyu” who is a fourth-year student at International Christian University in Tokyo.
Yuzuru Kimura, 88, who traveled from Oita Prefecture to the rally said, “I’ve lived in the postwar years trying to make a bright future (for younger generations). I don’t want people who will lead lives in the age to come to say that my generation didn’t voice opposition against politics that stomps on lives of the people and violates the Constitution.”
The protesters also voiced criticism over the restart of a reactor at Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai Nuclear Power Plant in Kagoshima Prefecture. A 41-year-old woman from Ushiku, Ibaraki Prefecture, who was at the rally with her two school age daughters slammed the government for giving the green light to restarting the nuclear power station, saying, “A government that continues to use nuclear power while the disaster at the Fukushima plant has not been cleared is not paying any respect to its people.”