WSJ, NYT, WaPo Finally Report Massive Protests In Tokyo Against Nuclear Power Plant Restart

In Tokyo, Thousands Protest the Restarting of a Nuclear Power Plant (New York Times, June 29, 2012):

Protesters shouted, “No to restart!” as they held up banners outside Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s residence on Friday.

The crowd, including women with small children and men in suits coming from work, chanted “No more Fukushimas!” as it filled the broad boulevards near the residence and the national Parliament building, which were cordoned off by the police.

Estimates of the crowd’s size varied widely, with organizers claiming 150,000 participants, while the police put the number at 17,000. Local news media estimated the crowd at between 20,000 and 45,000, which they described as the largest protest in central Tokyo since the 1960s.

Protests of any size are rare in Japan, which has long been politically apathetic. However, there has been growing discontent among many Japanese who feel that Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda ignored public concerns about safety this month when he ordered the restarting of the Ohi power station in western Japan.

Ohi was the first plant to go back online since last year’s accident in Fukushima led to the idling of all of Japan’s 50 operational nuclear reactors, which supplied a third of the nation’s electricity. Three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant melted down after a huge earthquake and tsunami knocked out crucial cooling systems.

Huge Tokyo Rally Protests Nuclear Restart (Wall Street Journal, June 29, 2012):

TOKYO—Tens of thousands of people protested against the nation’s first nuclear reactor restarts at the Japanese prime minister’s residence Friday, in one of the largest demonstrations since the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant last year set off wide opposition to nuclear power.

The massive demonstration was called to protest a government decision to restart Sunday two reactors at the Oi plant in western Japan. It was the 14th demonstration organized by a coalition of anti-nuclear groups outside the premier’s residence since March 29.

Thousands protest outside Japanese PM’s office before 1st nuclear reactor is turned on Sunday (Washington Post, June 29, 2012):

TOKYO — Thousands of people have protested outside the Japanese prime minister’s office before a nuclear reactor is restarted this weekend.

At least 10,000 protesters filled the street outside Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s office Friday, blocking traffic and chanting “No to restart!” as they held up banners with anti-nuclear slogans. The rally was the latest weekly protest there this month. Noda’s government recently approved restarting two reactors in western Japan.

One of them, Ohi No. 3 reactor, will be switched on Sunday for the first time since last year’s tsunami disaster triggered meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant.

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