Noda puts off parley with antinuclear protesters

Kyodo

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on Tuesday decided to postpone his first meeting with the people who are organizing the growing antinuclear demonstrations outside his office each Friday, government sources said.

The decision was made after six small opposition parties and a group submitted a no-confidence motion against his Cabinet to the Lower House and a nonbinding censure motion against Noda to the Upper House late Tuesday over tax hike legislation.

Noda will rearrange his schedule to meet with the organizers but did not say when, the sources added.

Noda is “willing to listen to various voices,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura repeated at a press conference.

Members of the Metropolitan Coalition Against Nukes, who have been protesting the resumption of two nuclear reactors at the Oi power plant in Fukui Prefecture, asked former Prime Minister Naoto Kan and other Diet members to arrange a meeting with Noda.

Noda is believed to have been reluctant to meet the organizers but was forced to change his stance in light of the growing scale of the protests, which have brought tens of thousands of people from all walks of life to Tokyo in recent weeks.

In June, the government decided to reactivate reactors 3 and 4 at the Oi plant in Fukui, ending the nation’s brief departure from nuclear power after the 2011 Fukushima disaster, the world’s worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl.