Wed, Aug 29, 2012 - Page 9 News List

Anti-nuclear protests signal new activism in Japan

In a country not known for mass protests, the Japanese government’s restarting of nuclear reactors has galvanized people from all walks of life to demand that their voices be heard

By Mari Yamaguchi  /  AP, TOKYO

“If we carry on, we could get more people to join in the cause around the country,” said Mariko Saito, a 63-year-old homemaker from nearby Kamakura, who joined the protest outside the prime minister’s office on a recent Friday. “I’ll definitely vote for an anti-nuclear candidate. Their nuclear stance would be the first thing I’ll look at.”

The rallies are peaceful compared to the 1960s, when activists wearing helmets and carrying clubs threw stones, then burst into the parliament complex. One died and dozens were injured.

Today’s protesters hold flowers or handmade posters, and even chat with police officers.

“It’s almost like a festival,” journalist and TV talk show host Soichiro Tahara wrote in his blog. “The people have finally found a common theme to come together.”

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