Activists start hunger strike against reactors

Kyodo

Around 10 members of a citizens’ group began a hunger strike Tuesday in front of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry to protest the government’s plan to restart two reactors at the Oi nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture.

The group plans to continue the hunger strike, with members taking turns for a few days or a week, until May 5, when the No. 3 reactor at Hokkaido Electric Power Co.’s Tomari plant, the only commercial reactor in Japan still operating, is scheduled to be taken offline for maintenance and inspections.

In addition to the hunger strike, hundreds of people staged a rally in front of the METI building.

“May 5 will be an important day marking the halt for the first time of all nuclear power plants in Japan, and we want to observe the day with no nuclear plants (in operation),” a participant said.

“There’s no way that the government will go on with the reactivation,” said Erika Ito, a 45-year-old freelance editor. “Children in Fukushima Prefecture are still being exposed to radiation due to the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, but the government can do little to help them.”

Among the participants were antinuclear journalist Satoshi Kamata and author Keiko Ochiai.