Thousands march against nuclear power in Tokyo


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Twenty thousand or sixty thousand: Either way, that is a LOT of people at a protest march in Japan!

8 ( +9 / -0 )

impressive number!!!! i have waited and waited. congrats protesters for getting it together.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Great. Again. Again, again and again. You have to protest until the government will listen at you, awesome japanese people. I'm close to you! :) Hugs from Italy.

6 ( +8 / -1 )

And in the future protests will be even larger as the effects of the disasters become even more apparent!

6 ( +7 / -0 )

I think that this crowd will grow to even a larger number. I hope the whole Japan will march and protest all over Japan.

6 ( +8 / -1 )

Impressive numbers indeed, Thank you, to each and every one of you. The people have to shape the future of this country.

5 ( +7 / -1 )

without radiation we'd be as barren as the moon

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

The whole world knows and is watching, I am so glad so many people showed up for this event, just marvelous!

5 ( +7 / -1 )

Well, it's great that they are marching.

It's unfortunate though that people are fickle. All TEPCO has to do is pull the plug, put em in darkness for a few hours and they'll be begging for them to turn on the power.

College Student:"Hey, I gotta charge my Iphone" YouTube Fan: "Dude, I need my Internet" High School Girl: "I can't see my face" Mom - "I'm missing my Korean drama" Otosan: I can't watch my Sunday "GO" program on my 3D TV.

As much as I hate nuclear energy, we are stuck with it. Futhermore Deep Pockets will never kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.

It would be better for them to protest for something they could actually achieve. First and most importantly the right to a popular vote for Prime Minister so you start eliminating those corrupt politicians that are bought and paid for.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Brilliant news Japan has found its voice, I am so proud of them. Power to the people

6 ( +8 / -1 )

Wonder if the net uyoku were there again to start up trouble from the safety of their police cordon?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The Japanese press is giving this story hardly any to no coverage at all, while Hosono's speech to the IAEA about Japan's 'safe nuclear future' is getting top billing in the day's stories. The major foreign media sources, on the contrary, are running this story.

Nothing will change for the better in this country until the Japanese-language media pulls their collective heads out of the sand and stop acting as spokesperson of the official government line.

5 ( +6 / -0 )

I am pro nuclear power.

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

I love the mindlessly repeated sentence "japan has no natural resources" It shows how little inventiveness is left here. There is A LOT of geo thermal energy available. Why not give up a few onsens and use that source? Or would that be against culture? I'm all for nuclear power if it's safe, japan has proved time and again that it can't handle it either with safty measures or the under the table kick backs to hide problems. It's time for the safety nation to think of new methods like Iceland did.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

I'm glad people are getting out - this isn't so common. The story reflects reality though, and themes like "scary" and "uncertainty" prevail. This is a real problem and leads to other non-reported issues like the Aichi-ken firework festival where fireworks from Fukushima were not used because people thought they would "spew" (that word again!) radiation!

The time for action is now, but people need to realise how comfortable they have been with full power, and how uncomfortable it will be without. There are no alternatives to switch on right now, and burning more fossil fuels will produce a different set of issues.

If used safely, I believe nuclear power can work in our favour. During an M9.0 earthquake and following tsunami, we might have issues!

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

That the mainstream Japanese media chose to ignore this event that assembled tens of thousands, though it even featured a Nobel Prize winner, is a shame. It is a shame that the Japanese have to go either to the English language press or the foreign media to find out what is happening in their own country.

Welcome to the new word of the DPJ--it is just like the old world of the LDP.

Whoever will be in power over the next few decades, watch for coverups as the worst effects of Fukushima evolve.

These protests are only the beginning, however, of a major anti-nuclear movement. We may well see the birth of a Green Party in the near future.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The Arab Awakening, next, the Safe Living Environment for Ordinary People Awakening!

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

There has to be a comprehensive view here. I would love for there to be less nuclear plants. But I don't want to swap that power production for dirty solutions like more use of fossil fuels. That would be tossing the baby out with the bad bath water.

The only way this really works out for the better is if we demand that the nuclear power be replaced with clean energy solutions. Otherwise we only replace one danger to human life with another.

This is the key point where I part company with the people I know who are protesting. They want nukes gone, but don't have a solution. They just want them gone now. Which essentially means that production gets replaced by coal, oil etc... which will kill us just as effectively.

We have to be patient for this change. We demand policy changes now. And then get the government to commit to investing in clean energy solutions and development. Then, and only then, do we really win for the future safety of Japan and our children.

-2 ( +4 / -5 )

No choice but nuclear at the moment kids.

-2 ( +8 / -10 )

Sorry, but the numbers need to keep growing to have any impact. There are that many people at one crossing of the Hachiko intersection every day, all day. That is not too great a stretch.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )


Yes, it was shown on the news, but it was given only about a minute buried deep in the news program, next to a longer segment about a 16 year old American girl who had some success at a golf tournament somewhere. Hey, I guess the blond girl was more telegenic than Mr. Oe and the protestors speaking out about something that might impact real life in Japan.


If nuclear is the only power option for Japan at the present, where does the other 70% come from? Accounting tricks?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Awesome that people are finally turning up in good numbers. Let's hope the momentum can be maintained.. Also wonderful to see respected individuals like Oe and Sakamoto lending support ... This is exactly what the movement needs, well known personalities at the forefront .Job well done to the organizers.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Sorry to burst their bubble. But no one in the government will listen to the general public. Never have and never will. Also what is an economically viable alternative at this time? Exactly - nothing.

Sure I hate nuclear power too, but why don't the protesters direct their efforts towards promoting other forms of power instead of telling us what we ALL already know about the dangers of nuclear power?

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

I do hope the momentum increases and thus culminating in a "snowball effect". The people and mass media should start a blitz campaign against nuclear power.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Everyone loves a parade. These people are hypocritical. They rode the shinkansen, electric bus or subway to get there, and tomorrow to go to work on, guess what, the same method. What "feel good feeling" they have when they go to bed tonight. The government should take there ID, put it in a data base, and deny a ticket on any electrical transportation method in Japan. There are so many VP Gore's in Japan with enormous carbon footprints. Stay home, save the oil and nuclear plants that supply electricity so that YOU can go protest.

-10 ( +1 / -10 )


Sorry to burst their bubble. But no one in the government will listen to the general public. Never have and never will. Also what is an economically viable alternative at this time? Exactly - nothing.

Well the government does not listen because the Japanese people, until now, has not stepped up and demanded that they listen. Nuclear power is not economically viable, that is the problem you see. If the real costs of nuclear power were ever disclosed, then everyone would realize this.

Sure I hate nuclear power too, but why don't the protesters direct their efforts towards promoting other forms of power instead of telling us what we ALL already know about the dangers of nuclear power?

I agree to to a point. But protest is by definition against something, asking for change. I don't think the protests should be interpreted as shut down all plants tomorrow. But rather that they are asking the government to move as fast as reasonably possible away from nuclear energy. And to shut down the oldest plants, the most dangerously located plants and facilitates processing plutonium as fast as possible.

(btw, I am not the one down-voting you)

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I'm glad so many people organized, and on a holiday no less (granted, most probably couldn't otherwise), in protest. This is a big step up for the nation, in my opinion. They should do this more and more, and never be afraid to let their voices be heard.

Meanwhile, you have government officials saying they're going to restart plants, that it'll be 'safe', and that we should all work towards phasing out nuclear power in the future, without of course coming up with any ideas as to how.

No one is saying the plants should be shut down tomorrow, and I think most rational people can agree that it's going to take time, but there's no reason to restart and even build MORE reactors while not coming up with any reliable substitutes.

This woman said it best, I think: "But if the government doesn’t act decisively now to set a new course, we’ll just continue with the status quo,”

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@noriyosan73: Even if most protesters are there for the fun of the event, even if they waste lots of energy for arriving at the site - they express their political opinion in public. That's new in Japan. It won't go away. Many will keep expressing their opinions and they will become interested in politics. Fukushima might well be the trigger for Japan to become a "real democracy" in the future.

The protests are not aimed at "shut down all nuclear plants now", but they demand "make a plan for the future". The number of protesters is awesome if You look at typical Japanese demos. Nevertheless, it is a tiny group.

Germany saw anti-nuclear protests with hundreds of thousands of people protesting in human chains of more than 100km length. Such are the pictures which cannot be ignored by the media. And they made a government quit the extension (of the lifetimes of nuclear plants) and reverse their position by 180 degrees.

If the Japanese people really want to achieve something, they have to do better. Let it be a million protesters or more - at some point the cannot be ignored anymore. If Japan had true leaders, they could achieve a correction of their course in less than a year.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

If you are against nuclear, get yourself a big wheel and start running on it like a hamster.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

How can I find out about these protests in time to go to them instead of reading about them after they happen? Anyone? The only thing that will change this bad situation, I think, is individual actions by people.

I'm for moving away from nuclear power, replacing it with other means that are sustainable in the long run. Nuclear power is not safe and indeed we are becoming very well informed on the cost of nuclear power. Gone bad. Because it is run by humans with shareholders and money to be made in the usual underhanded ways. The human race is not ready for this one. As the news proves daily.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

You need to make some Japanese friends Ranger.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

Ranger Miffy asks how he or she can find out about these protests. There are a number of sites. One new one that aggregates a number of sites is!/nonuke_jp. But I hear we cannot paste links into JT comments, so you might want to enter these intoa search engine: Citizens Nuclear Information Center, Green Action, Green Action Fukushima. Also try the Peace Philosophy Center (also on Facebook), which has both Japanese and English.

TokyoProgressive (my site) also has a bunch of links and articles. I also suggest Japan Focus for articles and analysis. The problem with the news media is that it is mostly kisha club, and therefore by default there is a pro nuclear bias.

I hope that this post is allowed to stay. Previous posts were deleted because, as I was told eventually, if the links are not in English, they are not useful to JT readers. While I think that is a bit presumptuous, all of the links above are mostly English.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Good links Paul.

0 ( +3 / -3 )


You exaggerate somewhat. The alternatives to nuclear energy are not sufficiently advanced to replace it completely yet, but nuclear energy itself is not sufficiently advanced to be maintained either.

It is a fact that a quick exit from nuclear power generation would take a very high price on the Japanese way of life and I do not think that the Japanese are willing to pay this price (because they would really have to save power). They would have to change many things not even in everyday life, but also in industrial production to achieve an efficient use of the available energy.

On the other hand, examples from Europe already show that most of the arguments against renewable energies are nonsensical. With sufficient wind power plants in different places, the effects of local weather are small for the energy production. Natural gas powered plants can be used for timely accommodation of energy demand and supply. Nuclear plants are not as flexible.

Finally, as I will always keep repeating: nuclear plants are not cheap, if they are built according to modern safety standards (quote from wikipedia on nuclear power in Finland).

The third Olkiluoto reactor will be the new European Pressurized Reactor. Scheduled to go on line in 2013 at fixed price of [euro] 3 billion ($4.1 billion), it will have a power output of 1,600 MWe. [...] The Olkiluoto-3 reactor is at least 37 months behind schedule after 42 months of construction, and some 50% over budget.

These numbers are one of the best arguments against building nuclear plants: they are far, far to expensive.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

The government wont listen, big business makes alot of money from nuclear power, they can't stop it as much as I hope they would... once burnt twice shy doesn't seem to apply to Japan :(

0 ( +3 / -3 )

...and all these marching activists go then back home and expect reliable electricity. Dimwits.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )


where do you get these figures from? could you please post a link? who is paying the 7 million ? etc. What other costs are involved?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Develop Tidal Power. The moon ain't going anywhere.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Japan has the skills to develop the renewable energy technologies into practically useful, modern versions. This is the natural time to start and become a world leader of that - green, safe energy. Go Japan!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@tokyoKawasaki &Squid, "Sorry to burst their bubble. But no one in the government will listen to the general public. Never have and never will. Also what is an economically viable alternative at this time? Exactly - nothing."

This is EXACTLY what they govt and powerful industries would like you to believe. But it isn't true, which is why when here us a victory they do not talk about it.

Someone commented that 20k or 60k people marching is a victory in itself. And it is. In this apathetic, allergy to anything social or political culture, it is amazing that Japanese people rejected their harsh, mind controlling "culture" and spoke up for what they believe in. It's been going on a lot since March, but the j media don't report it. Sometimes hey send reporters and a camera crew but do not air what they see. This is a fact.

One example that protests change things: they tried to open a Fukushima foods speciality shop in Fukuoka; people flipped out and they didn't do it. Another? They did t burn that radioactive wood in the obon festival. Propaganda managers have to make you forget these victories. Once you realize your voice is powerful, you'll start to "walk like an Egyptian", and 60,000 will become 6 million and then the Japanese crooks will pay attention.

That is their worst nightmare - that and being unde a Chinese yoke.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


" An average rice field earns the farmer about ¥1.5 million, while the same field installed with solar panels would earn the farmer about ¥7 million. "

Only if the government subsidizes this.... with money taken from tax payers, including these protesters. And ultimately from the productive economy. Pipe dream.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

WilliB says "all these marching activists" are "dimwits" for demanding safer and cleaner energy.

But all over the country this summer people pitched in to reduce power consumption by double digits.

The ones protesting the power reduction plan most vocally this summer were politicians like Osaka's Toru Hashimoto, not the leaders of this latest protest. I think Ryuichi Sakamoto can play the piano without any electricity, and Oe Kenzaburo can do book readings or give lectures without electric power. They can do without it a lot longer than Hashimoto and his supporters in the construction and manufacturing industries--funny that those industries can't be leaders in developing new power technologies but have to rely on a disaster wrenching the whole country in a new direction to make changes involuntarily.

One beneficiary of further electric cuts is going to be that guy who sells high-end candles and hosts non-electric "candle parties." Candle Jun, this is your time to shine! (I get at least one bad pun per post, right?)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

In the long term, nuclear power is a lousy solution.

It basically hands the problem of disposal onto our children.

There are alternative energy sources to be developed.

We can put our money and energy into this.

Or we can bankrupt ourselves in the "defense against the Chinese,"

And the "war on terror."

We have a choice.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Nucler power is antiquated and finite. What will you do when the uranium ore gives out less and less? Oh yes. Those mines are running dry! So much for that.

And for those of you saying to live without electricity, that is nonsense. We don't need a chain reaction to boil water, something Einstein himself said was stupid to do. There are many great ways of making electric. Get a grip on it and stop promoting pronuclear propaganda. If you support it fine, but at least stick to the facts.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I thought the Japanese police do not provide crowd estimates. Unless they have a chance to contradict a group that opposes the right wing, I suppose. Tokyo reduced power use nearly 20% in the hottest stretch of summer, and there were no blackouts even with only 1/3 of nuclear reactors producing electricity. With technological advances and conservation Japan can do without nuclear power and not increase fossil fuel use.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

But! Nuclear power is cheap and safe if it is maintained and the technology updated. The Fukushima disaster was a direct result of both TEPCO and the J-Gov's dithering response and lack of maitainence and updating the 40 year old plant. These people should be venting their anger at their own inactive and dithering government and the criminally negligent TEPCO.

-5 ( +1 / -7 )


Nuclear power may be finite, but the resources that supply nuclear power will still last for a few centuries. The numbers quoted from different groups are based on different assumptions. Environmentalist groups claim that uranium resources run dry in less than 80 years. This is somewhat true, since the uranium resources that can be harvested at the same cost as currently will have run dry in less than a century. However, if You accept a factor two on the price, the uranium resources will last for 400 years or more and there is also thorium, which can be used in far more advanced reactor types, which did not make it to the market, yet. Since the cost for the harvested uranium is only a few percent of the price for the generation of nuclear power, it is rather irrelevant how much uranium mining costs in the end.

Nuclear power is a bad solution, as most people accept. There are ways to improve it in ways that it can be considered safe under all scenarios that we can assume. However, there will always be a "black swan", or as the Japanese people call it an "igai" case. If nuclear plants are operated in a way that it requires a "black swan" type disaster which is by itself far worse than any nuclear accident could be (like the collision with a large asteriod or the like), I would dare to consider it safe.

This, however, will never happen. We can see clearly (the example of the EPR in Finland is very clear here) that improving the safety of nuclear plants drives the cost far higher than the cost for renewable energy sources. As such, "safe nuclear plants" are not really profitable and since companies always want to maximise their profits, commercially operated nuclear plants will always fail to meet the state of the art safety requirements.


Only if the government subsidizes this....

This is not true in general for renewable energy. If the cost for setting up the plants is taken into account correctly, real insurance premiums and environmental cost is considered, wind power is the cheapest of all. Even at the most optimistic calculations with nuclear plants which have already amortised, the real price is only about half the price for wind power. The price for nuclear power is artificially lowered by subsidies in the past, subsidies on taxes, disregard of real insurance, disregard of waste disposal. The price for wind power is artificially inflated by almost 50% to improve the margin for investors.

Solar is simply not advanced enough yet, but I think it will take less than ten years and we will witness the solar revolution. The 2000 Nobel prize in chemistry was handed out for research which is the basic foundation for organic (plastic) solar cells. They are almost ready for marketing. And this will be revolution which will change the way how the world looks. Energy will be produced locally in small units. The dependence on the large suppliers will not decrease, but since private people or local institutions can produce large parts of their energy themselves, it will cut the profit margins of the large companies. This is the main reason why they do not invest in solar power as they should.


The moon ain't going anywhere.

Strictly speaking, this is not true. The moon is slowly moving away from earth, slowing down the earth's rotation. The cause for this is tidal friction. The distance moved is about 3cm per year.

3 ( +3 / -0 )


Yes, these people are so dim-witted for wanting to rid their earthquake/tsunami-prone country of radiation-spewing power plants.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

well done. need to continue until there will be hundreds of thousands and then millions. most of Japanese are against nuclear power, but think that they can not influence or that it is shoganai. but it is neither. There are plenty of alternatives including the traditional fossil fuels. The normal claim for nuclear is it "low price"; Low price proved to be wrong calculation. who is going to pay for the cost of cleaning up and the cost of lost income for hundred of thousands of people? who is going to pay for the huge future health costs? We are. Tax payers. just imagine if there will another big earth quake tomorrow! just imagine if it closer to Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya etc. Do you think it will be different?! do you think that they have implemented any fundamental changes that now it is suddenly safe?!

So continue and protest until they will listen. eventually they will not have a choice but to listen!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Those protesters are hypocrite. When they go back home, A/C on, watch TV....

It might be true, though. Most of us don't know what to do for the energy for the future. Business executives and KEIDANREN people say, "without nuke power, Japan will sink". It might be so, but they are not 100% for sure, either. Before summer, we were imposed to cut 15% electricity. I thought it would be a great challenge and if we had a lot of difficulties, we might need nuke power in the future again. But we went through it. Most of us tried, some tried big thing, some tried just a little. But it was rather easy than we had anticipated. Now I think it would be possible without nuke power, if we continue conserving energy, smart/creative people and business try finding how to conserve, produce their own electricity...etc, we might be able to go without nuke power. It's worth trying.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

To all those that call the protesters hypocrites for using electricity at home, on the train getting to the protest and so on... You know well that nobody is protesting against electricity as such, nobody wants to go back to stone age...the issue is how we generate the electricity for our use and nuclear option was proven to not be safe / reliable by the March disaster. Its not that hard to understand deshoo..?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Good response Johannes Weber, though I don't in the end think it's a question of money.

Marcelito, exactly. How to make electricity and how to use what we have wisely. I didn't use my ac (except for a couple of days in July), but that's it. Sadly I saw many schools and offices with super high ac and lights on even with nobody in the rooms. We did a 23% savings this summer (nuke provides about 30% of energy), so with a little more work, we could definitely meet the challenge and not contribute to global warming.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

"Do people do dumb things with smart phones?"

Yes, and the same is true with nuclear technology. I think nuclear tech is a perfect example of how private markets simply do not always drive better technology. Sometimes, people just don't give a crap when it comes to something better, or don't even know that something better might exist.

Nuclear power is exactly the same way. Explain why we aren't using Thorium salt reactors? Hrm, let's see, the half-life of the longest isotope generated in the thorium decay chain is what.. less than 6 years? Yet we all seem to be stuck with Uranium reactors that produce that nasty little Plutonium isotope that has that oh-so-convenient half-life of about 240,000 years. Oh, and it can't produce a sustainable reaction that can critical mass and blow the reactor and take half a country with it? Bonus.

China's gonna blow this out of the water, and amazingly it's going to take a state ran country to show the world how nuclear power should have really been done.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Mr Lengacher

Your post makes perfect sense if one believes that the governments main incentive for getting into nuclear power was the generation of cheap electricity.

You see, they actually want(or wanted) all that nasty plutonium. Because if you have it, you can prove to the world that you know how to make the Bomb. And they think(or thought) that that would earn them respect in the big boys club.

Especially important for Japan, which other ways might be perceived as a harmless easy target after the end of WWII.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Thorium salt reactors are not without their own problems and dangers

That is true, not to be forgotten.

Why do we need to use these complicated methods to boil a kettle?

Because, using something simple like the heat from the ground, or the rays of the sun would historically not earn you any points in the big boys club. But we can not afford to play anymore, so maybe there is hope.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Stay home protesters, you are wasting electricity. Turn off the A/C, TV, lights, use the stairs at the 50 story building that has the fantastic view from your apartment on the 48th, and drink your beer warm because the frig doesn't work now. These protesters are so misinformed about nuclear safety. IT WAS THE TSUNAMI and poor engineering that shut down the power plants. Don't send the engineers to South Sudan, send them to Fukushima. Let's see some protests over the national budget, the "donation" to China in foreign aid, or the killing of children by children in elementary schools and adults. By the way, did your employer know that you were not sick?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Nuclear power accounts for 30% of japan's electricity, we're told. After 3/11, with only a little care over switching off unnecessary lights, turning down the brightness on the computer, pulling plugs on unused appliances, etc., - nothing that would count as a 'sacrifice' - our electricity consumption dropped 20-25%. If it's a choice between dropping a bit of convenience and having poorly-maintained nuclear plants spewing radioactivity, then it's a no-brainer.

By the way, noriyosan, did you not notice that Monday was a public holiday?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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