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Protesters in Tokyo demand end to nuclear power

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 9, 2013 at 5:13 am •  Published: March 9, 2013
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Kazuko Nihei, 36, was selling trinkets and soap that mothers, like her, who had fled Fukushima had made, hoping to raise funds for children's health check-ups and their new lives in Tokyo.

"When the government talks about recovery, they are talking about infrastructure. When we talk about recovery, we are talking about the future of our children," she said.

Another big Tokyo rally was planned for Sunday. A concert Saturday evening was to feature Oscar and Grammy-winning musician Ryuichi Sakamoto, one of the most vocal opponents of nuclear power. Commemorative services will be held Monday throughout the nation to remember the nearly 19,000 people who died in the disaster.

Less under the spotlight Monday will be a class-action lawsuit being filed against the government and Tokyo Electric Power Co., the utility that operates Fukushima Dai-ichi, demanding all land, the natural environment and homes be restored to their state before March 11, 2011.

The lawsuit in Fukushima District Court is unusual in drawing people from all walks of life, including farmers, fishermen and housewives, because of the wording of the damage demand.

It has drawn 800 plaintiffs so far, a remarkable number in a conformist culture that frowns upon any challenge to the status quo, especially lawsuits. That number may grow as people join the lawsuit in coming months. A verdict is not expected for more than a year.

"We can't believe the government is thinking about restarting the reactors after the horrendous damage and human pain the accident has caused," Izutaro Managi, one of the lawyers, said by telephone. "It is tantamount to victimizing the victims one more time."

Kazuko Ishige, a 66-year-old apartment manager who was at the rally with a friend from Fukushima, said she was sick of the government's lies about the safety of nuclear plants.

"I am really angry," she said. "I am going to have to keep at it until I die."

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Follow Yuri Kageyama on Twitter at twitter.com/yurikageyama