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Japan: 100,000 march in Tokyo to protest nuclear energy


Goshi Hosono, Japan's environment minister, minister for the Restoration from and Prevention of Nuclear Accident and minister of state for the Nuclear Power Policy and Administration, center, inspects a pool containing spent fuel rods at the No. 4 reactor building at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s (Tepco) Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant in Okuma Town, Fukushima Prefecture on May 26, 2012.


Toshiaki Shimizu

Today was the hottest day of the year so far in Japan, but that didn't stop protesters from taking to the streets to protest nuclear energy. About 100,000 people marched through Tokyo to protest the country's dependence on nuclear power, Reuters reported. The massive protest comes as Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda is dealing with the public's growing distrust of atomic power, which before the Fukushima disaster had provided 30 percent of the country's electricity.

"Japan is going to destroy itself by building nuclear plants in such an earthquake-prone country," a protester told Reuters.  

The protest was the biggest anti-nuclear rally since the Fukushima disaster last year and attracted speakers such as Nobel laureate Kenzaburo Oe, Bloomberg News reported.

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All 50 of the country's nuclear reactors went off-line following the disaster last year so they could be checked for safety. But last month the government approved the restart of two reactors, even though most of the public in Japan was opposed to the move, the Wall Street Journal reported.

“The government allowed the Ohi nuclear reactors to restart and it’s going to allow more reactors to restart. We feel we are insulted by the government,” Oe said in his speech at the protest, according to Bloomberg News.

The protests also come after a damning report was released earlier this month which found that the earthquake and tsunami were not the only factors that contributed to the Fukushima tragedy. The report found that lax oversight from the government and the energy companies also contributed to the massive meltdown, Japan Today reported. “They effectively betrayed the nation’s right to be safe from nuclear accidents. Therefore, we conclude that the accident was clearly ‘man-made,'" the report said.