Oe, Sakamoto lead charge for no-reactor bill

Kyodo

A group led by Nobel literature laureate Kenzaburo Oe, Academy Award-winning composer Ryuichi Sakamoto and other noted celebrities has launched a nationwide network seeking passage of a bill to abolish all nuclear power plants in Japan.

“We must bring an end to nuclear power plants if humankind is to continue living in the next century,” Oe said during a news conference Wednesday in Tokyo. “By speaking out loud, we can have the bill passed.”

Group members said they want to see the bill that they have compiled passed as soon as possible before 2025.

Oe and Sakamoto have been leading rallies against nuclear power, with the most recent protest on July 16 drawing what organizers said was an estimated 170,000 people to Yoyogi Park.

Other members of the group include Kenji Utsunomiya, former president of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, and Tatsuya Murakami, the mayor of Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture, where the country’s first nuclear reactor was set up in 1957.

In its bill, the group calls nuclear power an extremely fragile system in terms of security, noting the devastating damage that accidents can cause and that no safe method of disposing of nuclear waste has been established.

The group aims to prohibit construction of new nuclear plants and expansion of existing ones, and to abolish all nuclear plants between 2020 and 2025. It also seeks a ban on operation of reactors that are more than 40 years old, as well as a halt to the reprocessing of spent fuel.