Sunday, May 8, 2011

Japanese call for end to nuclear power

Japanese demonstrators protesting the country's nuclear policy in Tokyo, May 8, 2011

Source: Press TV

Thousands of Japanese people have taken to the streets in Tokyo, calling for a change in the government's energy policy and an end to nuclear power.

On Saturday, thousands of demonstrators rallied in Tokyo, carrying banners that read "Nuclear is old!" and "We want a shift in energy policy!" one day after Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan called for the shutdown of Hamaoka nuclear power plant in Honshu island.

Seismology experts forecast there is a 90-percent chance of a major quake in 30 years hitting the Chubu region, the central area of the country's largest island, Honshu, which encompasses the Hamaoka nuclear power plant.

The Hamaoka complex in Shizuoka Prefecture of the Chubu region is based near a major fault line 200 kilometers (124 miles) southwest of the capital Tokyo.

Kan said the plant should be shut down until protective measures are taken against natural disasters.

"I'm happy to see the prime minister finally taking action," one of the demonstrators Manami Inoue, 28, said.

"I feel so frustrated because no politicians have made their stance clear -- whether they are for nuclear or against nuclear. They keep saying nuclear is dangerous but never say they are against it," AFP quoted another demonstrator Shinji Matsushita as saying.

Opposition to nuclear power in Japan has grown since the destructive earthquake and tsunami on March 11 set off nuclear problems by knocking out power to the cooling systems of reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant and leading to radiation leakage.

The operator of Fukushima power plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), has since been struggling to stop radioactive leaks from the plant's damaged reactors.

TEPCO announced earlier in April that it would manage to reduce radiation leaks from the Fukushima plant within three months and to also cool reactors and control the radiation within six to nine months.

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