DPA: Japan protesters refuse to leave gov’t ministry until all reactors close, camping for last two months — 1,300 formed human chain — Crowd boos as authorities try to remove two women in 60s

Published: November 18th, 2011 at 9:22 am ET
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Anti-nuclear protestors sit tight at Japanese ministry, DPA, Nov. 18, 2011 (Emphasis Added):

  • Anti-nuclear activist Tadao Eda says he and other citizens will continue their sit-in at the Industry Ministry for as long as Japan is running nuclear power station.
  • “Japan needs drastic changes in energy policy by scrapping all the nuclear reactors,” Eda says from his tent erected in a corner of the ministry’s grounds two months ago.
  • On Monday, the authorities moved to clear the protesters’ tents from the ministry grounds, but were thwarted when two women in their 60s refused to move.
  • Under boos and jeers from onlookers, the officers gave up their attempt for the time being.
  • “We still want them to leave as soon as possible,” a ministry official said.
  • They have been harassed by some right-wing activists, but another right-wing group on Wednesday met with industry officials to express their support for the protest.
  • [Eda] also points out that around 1,300 people turned out last week to form a human chain around the ministry, despite the rain.

The Plan

  • “We won’t allow the government to restart idled reactors” after they are shut down for maintenance, [Eda] says.
  • All of Japan’s 11 reactors still in operation, are scheduled to be shut down for servicing by April, he says.
  • If the government withholds permission for them to restart, Japan would be free of nuclear power.
  • “That’s an immediate goal,” Eda says outside the ministry, which has promoted the country’s nuclear-dependent energy policy for decades.
  • The country’s other 43 reactors are either currently being inspected, or have been shut down in the wake of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Japan Rising

  • On Sunday, on the southern island of Kyushu, the site of another nuclear power plant, 15,000 people demonstrated to call on the government to scrap all of the nation’s 54 reactors.
  • In Tokyo, many women involved in the protest at the industry ministry have also called for the immediate evacuation of all children in Fukushima prefecture, to protect them from the leaked radiation.
  • Members of the Fukushima Network for Saving Children from Radiation met industry ministry officials in early November with the same request.
  • Chieko Shiina, a leader of the Fukushima-based group who joined the sit-in protest at the ministry, says, “The government has been trying to hide truths on the disaster.
  • The protest “is a way to take direct action to convey our voices to the government,” Shiina says.
  • Some see a link with the high-profile “occupy” protests in Western countries, which call for action against the capitalist economy and the growing gap between rich and poor.

More on The Plan from Aileen Mioko Smith, at At 19:30 in

Published: November 18th, 2011 at 9:22 am ET
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