Anti-nuke activists plan 100th rally near Diet

Kyodo

Activists who have been rallying against nuclear power near the prime minister’s office and the Diet building since 2012 are scheduled to hold their 100th demonstration Friday night.

The number of people attending the rallies, however, has declined to several thousand after peaking at some 200,000.

Misao Redwolf, an illustrator and one of the rally organizers, said she will continue to hold the rally every Friday night. “It’s important to raise voices against nuclear power,” she said. “We will continue protesting because we have no reason to quit.”

Redwolf, who won’t reveal her real name or age, is a member of the Metropolitan Coalition Against Nukes, a group of antinuclear power activists in and around Tokyo. The activists held the first rally in March 2012, a year after the Fukushima disaster began on March 11, 2011, after the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami.

Some 300 people joined the first rally, which was held to oppose the restarting of reactors at the Oi nuclear power plant in the town of Oi, Fukui Prefecture, on the Sea of Japan coast.

Redwolf, who hails from the atom-bombed city of Hiroshima and started antinuclear activities around 2007, said she has always given thought to getting those not interested in antinuclear movement more involved.

Some 200,000 people attended the rally on June 29, 2012, opposing the restart of the No. 3 reactor at the four-reactor Oi power plant run by Kansai Electric Power Co.

But the pro-nuclear Liberal Democratic Party returned to power after the December 2012 Lower House election, ousting the Democratic Party of Japan from power. In April, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government adopted a new basic energy policy that calls for restarting the reactors and maintaining atomic energy.

The protesters have fallen to between 1,500 and 3,000 since.

Redwolf says she is not disappointed with the decline in numbers and said she weathered tougher times before the Fukushima disaster.

Redwolf said that, at present, she is particularly worried about restarting the reactors at the Sendai plant in Satsumasendai, Kagoshima Prefecture.