Japan: Thousands march against nuclear power

Issue 

About 15,000 people attended the “No Nukes” protest in the central Tokyo district of Koenji on April 10.

The rally called for assistance to those affected by the March earthquake and tsunami disaster, and for an end to nuclear power. Organisers said more than 1.23 million yen (A$14,000) had been raised for those affected by the disaster.

About 2500 people joined a separate rally in another part of the city calling for the Hamaoka nuclear plant in Shizuoka to be switched off. The Hamaoka plant is on a fault line considered likely to be affected by future quakes.

The Koenji rally, officially titled the “Great Anti-Nuclear Rock Festival Demo in Kōenji”, was called by Matsumoto Hajime of the Shiroto no ran (Amateur’s Riot) network.

The network, based in Koenji, has been trying to build alternative spaces and communities in the area.

For many of the mostly youthful demonstrators, this was their first experience of taking part in a political demonstration.

The organisers promoted the event using the internet and social media. Prominent celebrities and social commentators also backed the event.

The rally was characterised by the colourful costumes and props of the demonstrators. There were clowns, anti-nuclear dogs and many people with musical instruments. A full line-up of DJs and bands entertained the crowd.

The presence of musicians and mobile DJ trucks at Tokyo demonstrations has become a characteristic of an emerging counter-culture. These “sound demos” seek to appeal to those who may be put off by more traditional trade union and political party demonstrations.

The sound trucks ensure that the demonstration’s presence is felt far and wide. Along with the costumes and dancing of the participants, they transform the demonstration into a carnival of resistance.

The significance of the protest goes beyond its powerful anti-nuclear message. Since the anti-Iraq war movement in 2003, a growing number of young people have become involved in political demonstrations and counter-cultural activity.

Many of these young people are casual workers who are locked out of Japan’s famed “lifetime employment” system.

The demonstration was also aimed at the atomisation of society that separates people from one another and encourages them to consume more and more.

Organiser Matsumoto told Time Out Tokyo: “I really want to emphasise that people getting together is good for the environment. Rather than everybody using electricity individually, coming together is not only more fun but it saves electricity.”

Solidarity actions were held in other Japanese cities and in South Korea, Canada, the United States, Germany, Italy, France and Mexico.

Ongoing actions have been called outside the Tokyo offices of Tokyo Electric Power Company. A further large demonstration is planned for April 24.

It seems that the anti-nuclear renaissance has well and truly begun.

Comments

Great article. But as an extension I came across the following article by Yoichi Shimatsu:

http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=24749

Just to highlight the main points:

So where did all of Tepco's hidden profits go? From what can be gathered from its less-than-transparent financial records, Tepco management routinely issued bonds to finance massive investments in uranium mines in Canada and Australia. Its Canadian affiliate Tepco Resources owns a 5 percent share in Cigar Lake in Sasketchewan, one of world's largest uranium mines in a consortium with CAMECO, France's COGIMA and Idemitsu Kosan. Tepco's Perth-based office has a web of holdings in Australian uranium projects, including the gigantic Ranger open-pit mine run by Rio Tinto in the environmentally and culturally sensitive Kakadu region.

Tepco has quietly strategized to build nuclear power plants abroad by taking shares in a utility firm in Thailand and opening an office in China. A veil of secrecy surrounds these foreign nuclear projects, with its technology partners Toshiba and Hitachi, which planning to more than 30 plants each at undisclosed sites.

Hidden Connections

Its long-term business relationship with Toshiba and Hitachi are hidden in Japan's opaque system of cross-holdings of shares between related companies. Mutual share holdings are a risk strategy, as recently indicated by a sharp reversal in its decline in its stock price. A steep fall in Tepco share prices to 40 percent from the peak along with a ratings downgrade from Wall Street should have led to the financial collapse of Tepco. Instead, its share prices began to soar despite the deepening crisis at Fukushima.

Reading Green Left online is free but producing it isn't

Green Left aims to make all content available online, without paywalls. We rely on regular support and donations from readers like you.

For just $5 per month get Green Left in your inbox each week. For $10 per month get the paper delivered to your door.