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It has been said and believed for several decades that Japanese are not active in the political process, demonstrations or making public appeals. But that is not the case. There have been many cases of steady and long-enduring social activism in Japan, just like in other countries, but they have remained largely unknown until recently. To take one example, the demonstration against the planned construction of a nuclear plant in Kaminoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture, by inhabitants in Iwaishima, a small island across from Kaminoseki, has been held every Monday for about 30 years.

The 3/11 disaster changed the situation across the country to a considerable extent and many people wanted to learn about social activism so they could take action on pressing issues such as the displacement of people, especially Fukushima nuclear disaster victims, nuclear power plants, poverty and unemployment, military bases, etc. We saw a strong upheaval of social movements in 2012, but they unfortunately withered quickly this year.

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