The weekly antinuclear power rallies are still being staged outside the prime minister's office, as evidenced by a gathering of some 3,000 people one recent cold February evening, but the crowds are getting smaller.

Part of this decline may be because two years have passed since the Fukushima nuclear disaster started. Another factor may be that the Liberal Democratic Party — the very promoter of nuclear energy over the past half-century — returned to power at the end of last year.

The demonstrations, organized by the Metropolitan Coalition Against Nukes, a body made up of 13 groups as well as individual members, have been held every Friday in Nagata-cho since late last March, when the Democratic Party of Japan was in power and seemed receptive to calls to end nuclear power.