Thousands mass for antinuclear rally in Tokyo


Tens of thousands of people rallied against nuclear power Sunday in what appeared to be the largest demonstration since Japan’s last active reactor went offline for maintenance on Sept. 15.

Demonstrators marched in front of government agencies in Tokyo chanting such slogans as “We oppose nuclear power” and “We oppose restarting nuclear reactors.”

A total of 40,000 people took part in the rally, organizers said.

“I am really angry to see (Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s) lie go unchallenged,” Misao Redwolf said at an event organized by her Metropolitan Coalition Against Nukes, referring to Abe’s speech to the International Olympic Committee last month in Buenos Aires.

In his presentation for Tokyo’s bid to host the 2020 Olympics, Abe said the situation regarding the radioactive water leaks at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant is under control. The IOC subsequently voted to bring the Games to Tokyo.

Speaking at Sunday’s meeting, Nobel literature laureate Kenzaburo Oe sought to make Japan nuclear-free at an early date.

“We need to win back a world where our future children can live,” the author said.

Freelance journalist Satoshi Kamata called the nuclear industry corrupt and incorrigible.

“Nuclear plants have been built with lies, money and intimidation, and this has not changed at all, even after the (2011 Fukushima) accident,” Kamata said.

“Something that could leave future generations with irreparable damage must not be done,” said 31-year-old Tokyo employee Takanori Teraoka, father of a 1-year-old girl.

“I can’t condone the lie Abe told to bring the Olympics to Tokyo,” said Noriko Iwata, 63, from the city of Saitama.

On Sept. 15, the No. 4 reactor at the Oi nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture, was suspended for routine maintenance, leaving all of the nation’s 50 viable commercial reactors offline for the first time in more than a year.

  • vlady47

    “Nuclear plants have been built with lies, money and intimidation, and this has not changed at all, even after the (2011 Fukushima) accident,” Kamata said.
    And the lessons have NOT been learned here in the USA.
    Even the former Head NRC commissioner Jaczko said so!

    • The problem is not ‘nuclear power’, its public administration of nuclear power. The govt should never have said it would close nuclear plants, it should merely have reviewed the sensibility of existing & planned plants, to determine whether they are justifiable. Fukushima clearly does not make sense since it was always a tsunami-vulnerable plant. You don’t ‘throw the baby out with the bathwater’. Its not even possible given the large percentage of power generated by nuclear, and the cost of decommissioning mostly modern plants. Administration can however be overhauled. Such protesters are fond of looking at issues out-of-context, as if there were no implications. Indulgent liberals and socialists who can’t think beyond the self-evident.

      • kyushuphil

        Babies in their bath water?

        It might make sense to equate nukes to babies, given that babies grow up, and costs incur with them. But consider the costs of nukes — not just the “decommissioning” you admit.

        The nuke toxins will go on poisoning for 1,000s of years. That fact fits no baby-and-its-bath-water cutesy logic.

        Nukes have also played right along with and ramped up the profligacy of sprawl everywhere in the world where the high finance, biz school, and other huckster vultures have set up the poison machineries. Cars. Concrete. Shopping malls. Neon. And all the plastics and chemicals of Industrial Ag and fast food. So much does much of the world want to buy into these addictions now that China and other places not only up the nuke production, but also the belching pollutants of their coal fired parallel supply lines.

        These latter components of the recent consumerism culture can’t even be calculated, let alone accounted for in the final costs of all those “babies” in their “bath water.”

      • Starviking

        “The nuke toxins will go on poisoning for 1,000s of years. That fact fits no baby-and-its-bath-water cutesy logic.”
        And yet we see little effect in the Pacific, none outside the immediate evacualtion area, and recently no sign of genetic abnormalities in Bulls in the exclusion zone.
        Some poisioning!

      • No, isotopes can remain toxic for 1000s of years; that’s not to say they need be managed in a way which kills people. These isotopes are natural; the point at issue is that they are concentrated by humans in ‘undesirable’ ways. Its an issue of management. It wasn’t logic, it was an analogy.The argument being that every plant needs to be appraised on its merits. So dispense with the ‘cutsy feelings’.

      • Starviking

        Concentration is a good point. What has been found so far is that concentrations are far lower than would likely cause harm to humans.

      • Joshua

        You are right Andrew, for my view point to save high taxes and headaches shut down gradually a nuclear plant and replace it for a new source of energy.

      • I didn’t say that. You can’t gradually shut down a plant; you can only selectively shut plants. Alternatives don’t really offer sufficient capacity potential. Solar panels on every house is expensive and it would leave a winter & cloudy day capacity shortfall.

      • Toolonggone

        You mean, the system of check-and-balance on nuclear power regarding the
        maintenance of public safety and responsible business operation. 3/11 earthquake-and-tsunami disaster taught us that public administration has failed to meet its accountability to monitor the private electricity company on both respects. The NRA (Nuclear Regulation Agency), a newly emerged watch-dog, is not mature enough to exercise its power to influence utilities companies and the nuclear village on power-plant operation. Protestors looking at the issue out of context. Maybe. But not all of them. Most of them have a legit reason to march in the street because they know nuclear stakeholders are deceiving the public and harming the democracy so bad.

      • True, but then marching in the streets to halt nuclear power is not the solution, demanding political reform, if they have any answers at all, might.

      • Starviking

        Fukushima’s tsunami-vunerability was only shown on March 11th 2011, so it really does not make sense to say it was “always a tsunami-vulnerable plant”.

      • That is empiricist thinking. Analytical thinking will tell people that modern humans have only been on this earth for 2mil years, recording history for a 1000-odd years. Anyone else to document tsunamis probably died trying, if they lived in the age of ‘documentation’. The earth is 4.5bil years old, so some humans need a ‘geological perspective’. Japan is ripe for tsunami risks. Its not a stretch to expect a major crustal movement a long a major crustal feature of 20metres. Scary, but true. We don’t know how dangerous the earth is. That’s the scary movie that Hollywood has not made yet. Its also true to say that a 50-year plant life has a good chance of avoiding problems, particularly as its a robust piece of infrastructure….as long as you build it for that wave. This is not new information….they should have known better.

    • Joshua

      People complain about nuclear energy is bad but they don’t see the big picture if they shut down they will pay high prices, high tax and high everything….. Government and citizens should work together and making an arrangement like every 3 to 5 years shut down gradually a each Nuclear Plant have on Japan also all that workers relocate to get new jobs of new clean energy and research for new source of energy, I think everyone will be happy but people don’t think straight they want fast solutions for free and honestly life doesn’t have free stuffs you need work hard to reach your goal!!

      • Estim8z

        Health children and future generations verses high energy cost? I will take high energy costs!

      • Joshua

        Good you think like that way to pay more TAX might be you have a good pay job! But a lot of people can’t afford it.some only earn the minimum wage also Japan doesn’t have food stamps or cash assistant so kinda hard thought right ? That why they should shut down gradually each Nuclear Plant and starting from 2011 build new source of energy such as like Tidal power, wave power, wind power, geothermal power, biomass, biofuel.

      • Joshua, does that lead you to conclude that representative democracy is a farce? That we ought to be functioning under a different system. That reform is the moral imperative of the day.

    • Starviking

      You trumpet NRC Comissioner Jaczko as if he were a convert to the anti-nuclear religion – not so. In all his political choices since entering that arena he has chosen to work with anti-nuclear politicians, whilst putting up a facade that he is even-handed. Now that he has been forced out of the NRC for his dictatorial management style he’s allowed the mask to slip – but still keeps up the lie that he was recently converted to the cause.

  • Nori

    People need to realize NOW that we human beings are just NOT INTELLIGENT ENOUGH (and will never be) to handle this technology.

    • Starviking

      Speak for yourself.

  • Well, they all have there issues as well. Who wants steam pipes traversing the countryside; and resources are really not readily available. Nuclear is actually a good ‘high density’ fuel, we just have to manage it better.

  • I wasn’t discounting empirical evidence, I’m saying it cannot be solely relied on, as empiricists/correlative scientists are prone to do in the absence of a ‘conceptual foundation’. The fact that you have 2 events does not make it causal. The conceptual argument was always that Fukushima was a dangerous site. These phenomenon are open to anticipation, and facilities can be designed to cope, even if a ‘greater than 1000-yr’ event occurred.
    TEPCO probably would not have found debris if they looked because its a convergent plate boundary, so there is a good reason for it to be destroyed. Again, a lack of conceptual awareness.

    • Starviking

      I’m not quite sure what you mean by “conceptual awareness” or “conceptual foundation” in this context. Do you mean that areas should be designated dangerous until they are proven not to be?

  • Its not ‘civic’ minded to protest, its extortionary influence. Its not an argument. The problem is we live in a extortion-based society, where you discredit govt by the number of people you can amass. It doesn’t work that way. There are simply too many idiots. It all depends on the quality of your argument. They only reason they protest is because it works. Its an extortion system, whether not legitimatised (in the case of protests) or legal (in the case of voting or military/trade threats, or even our useless court system, used by corporations and govts to intimidate).

    • Toolonggone

      So, in your view, anyone who joins in the public protest deserves blame for being an extortionist simply because you don’t like its behavioral characteristics, while keeping a blind eye on those powers-that-be (i.e., big corporations, pro-business politicians) who refuse to take any responsibility for any wrongdoings that result in harming the interests of community? Wow.

  • Starviking

    And what are the many, many things?

  • You can’t force education; nor are protests education beyond the ‘self-evident’ acknowledgement that “I want more than you are giving me” or “I’m hurt by your actions”. Given that those two propositions are morally distinct, we can in fact conclude nothing from a protest. So they are just one vested interest attempting to ‘extort’ influence over an extortion-based system, with no consideration of the reasonableness or impact of their proposition to others. Integrity is not the game play; its getting what they want, because they want it. Nothing else is required beyond appealing to a large enough sympathetic audience…and reason there too need not be considered…in fact the lack of education generally means it doesn’t.

  • I’m not in Japan now, so not sure if they are rationing, but all countries have a ‘spinning reserve’ and the blow out in the Japanese deficit points to higher coal & oil imports. Basically they have either increased output from existing coal-fired plants, and re-started old oil-fired plants, as well as using ‘spinning’ reserve capacity supposed to be used in times of crisis. Also Japan’s in recession, and depopulation, so the system wasn’t stressed to start with. But the climate will ‘apparently’ suffer. Weak Yen is also contributing to deficit blow-out.

  • Everyone is reasonable…to an extent. No person can be entirely irrational, even psychopaths. They function in a ‘sphere of selective knowledge’. The selectivity of demonstrators lies in their propensity to have their values defined by others. In this case ‘others’ refers to the ‘overarching disempowering system’, which is based on extortion. So how does one influence people when the main political system is based on extortion. Well, you find a way to influence. Generally the only way to influence people is to get money to advertise by creating something of value. i.e. Business people, or to create a noise, by creating a ‘destructive scene’, or showing your ‘numbers’, or killing innocent people. Its all a scheme to say, I have something to say, and I’m important. Biz people though tend to remain in the business sphere because its rewarding and it sustains them. Their project interests grow with them because its competitive and consumer interests grow with them. Of course, there is also a greater pay-off for them. Gates proves the point, that it gets to a point, where you want to challenge yourself with something else perhaps. Perhaps problems which no one else is solving. Differentiate yourself by doing something different.

  • Starviking

    Actually, looking at modern nuclear plants, by which I think you mean reactors, you get about 1,350,000 killowatt hours. That’s about a quarter of a million Japanese homes. If they have your solar panels then that’s about 600,000 homes.
    As for the solar panel, you are assuming that the panel is getting enough sun to produce that output. Japan is not Sunny California. Seasonal factors and weather can have a big effect.
    As for wind turbines, they generally sit at around the 2MW max. output mark, so you’re looking at 500kW average per day from your turbine. That’s 12,000kWh, or 4,380,000 kwh per year. You’re covering 2000 homes with that.
    Wave power units generally produce tens of killowats per metre of wavefront – you are out there. You also confuse power (kW) with energy (kWh).
    As for geothermal power in Japan, we have about 500MW power output now, and a potential for a GW more. That’s more-or-less one nuclear reactor.

  • Well, I’ve arguing that ‘pertinent factors’ is not solely empirical evidence’. I think they ignored analytical evidence. That’s a very layperson/scientific thing to do in a world where science = empiricism.So, I don’t accept a scientist saying ‘we got nothing’, since nothing can indicate the destruction of evidence, and if their job was risk avoidance, they’ve failed because there was a conceptual argument to be made for ‘big tsunami’ and ‘destruction of evidence’. Maybe they might never ‘know’ empirically; but even that is a poor argument if there remains a conceptual/analytical argument that says a serious earthquake is possible, which they could have modelled. Remember, concepts build up from empirical evidence. At issue is why they could not have identified a causal relationship. Its also not just about ‘tsunami defensive’ walls, it was largely an emergency power outage/failure that precipitated the meltdown (if I recall)…but its the same type of argument. The system failed on the basis of a serious earthquake/tsunami threat, which was predictable. I think the largest earthquake on record is Chile 9.?? in 1960s?? Given our short history of recording these phenomenon, in the case of a point (plant) threat, greater precautions were justified. Its just the way of govts to be ‘concrete’, and to dismiss abstract risks.

  • No, I don’t think business people are ‘exonerated’ because they make money, or pay taxes; I just don’t think stealing money from people instils in people a sense of principle. I think they are inclined to become as tragic as the people who are stealing the money, and the politicians attempting to appease both groups. I’m not a defender of business; I simply recognise their importance to themselves and society. Anything else just undermines empathy and drives us back into the middle ages.