KAWAGUCHI, SAITAMA – Last Sunday there were anti-nuclear protests in Tokyo. They were no match for Tahrir Square, Cairo, for sure. Nothing shut down — just a bunch of people peacefully walking down the street, accompanied by a few beat cops. Some dressed up in wacky costumes, others carried NO NUKE signs, and others, young couples, apparently just popped in on their way to view cherry blossoms.
There definitely are a lot of people angry at Tokyo Electric Power Co. and frustrated with the close relationship between the nuclear regulators and the power companies, but this was no revolution for sure — a couple thousand or more at best. In a metro area of 30 million, a couple thousand Buddhists, progressive leftists, bored old and young people and tourists on their way to hanami do not make a revolution.
In my opinion, we do need to put our minds together to find safe clean alternative energy, but deciding to hold a protest on the one day people are getting out of the house anyway and don’t mind marching on the way to the park with their six packs isn’t going to scare Tepco or the Government of Japan.
The fact is, that if people are really anti-nuke, they need to study organizations that are developing alternative technologies, and help promote and make people aware of such technologies while teaching people to make their own homes more energy-efficient. A one day march is just recreational activism and does absolutely nothing except maybe make for some nice tweets, You Tube videos and a news short.
We must remember that the strength of the protesters at Tahrir Square was their willingness to stay in the square as their numbers kept growing. Unless current and future protesters connect with organizations offering alternatives to nuclear energy and continually lobby for policy change, it is as if as they have abandoned the square on day one.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.