Nationwide antinuke rallies planned

Kyodo

An antinuclear citizens’ group led by Nobel laureate Kenzaburo Oe and other prominent figures will hold rallies in Tokyo and four other prefectures Saturday in its drive to gather 10 million signatures opposing atomic energy.

The rallies will be held simultaneously in Tokyo and in Niigata, Kagawa, Yamaguchi and Ehime prefectures, which all host nuclear plants, as part of the group’s “10 Million People’s Action to Say Goodbye to Nuclear Power Plant” campaign.

The initiative has already collected about 4 million signatures in support of abolishing the nation’s 54 commercial reactors, the group’s executive committee said earlier this week.

The group will also stage a rally in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, on the first anniversary of the March 11 disasters that sparked the nation’s worst nuclear crisis.

Efforts to gather signatures will continue through March, and the group will then submit its petition to Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and to the leaders of both chambers of the Diet.

“If we think about the children of tomorrow and to fulfill our ethical responsibilities to future (generations), we must strongly propose the abandonment of all nuclear power plants,” Oe said.

The group held a rally that attracted around 60,000 in Tokyo last September, and plans to hold another protest with 100,000 participants in mid-July.

It also intends to submit petitions against the restart of reactors to heads of municipalities that host atomic plants. Minamisoma Mayor Katsunobu Sakurai, whose city is located near the ravaged Fukushima No. 1 plant, is a member of the group.

Ending the Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor and other nuclear reprocessing projects is another key goal of the group, as well as finding alternative energy sources.

Journalist Satoshi Kamata, a member of the group’s executive committee, said: “Unfortunately, Japan has been a victim to three incidents of radiation exposure. The first time was in Hiroshima, then in Nagasaki and now in Fukushima.”