September 23, 2014
Thousands of people protested in Tokyo on Tuesday, criticizing the government’s move to restart two of Japan’s nuclear reactors by arguing that no sufficient anti-disaster plans have been presented three years after the Fukushima catastrophe.
More than 16,000 activists gathered in the Japanese capital, speaking out against the September 10 decision by the country’s nuclear watchdog to restart two reactors at the Sendai plant in southern Japan.
“Three and a half years has passed since the nuclear accident, but self-examination has yet to be made,” Nobel literature laureate Kenzaburo Oe told the Tokyo rally.
“[Japan’s government] is going ahead with the plan to resume operation at the Sendai plant without compiling sufficient anti-disaster plans,” Oe said, according to public broadcaster NHK.
Earlier this month, Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) approved the revival of two reactors at a nuclear power station in Sendai, after the plant met the necessary safety requirements. It is seen as the first step to reopening an industry of 48 remaining reactors.
Under Japanese safety regulations, reactors older than 40 years are to be decommissioned unless they receive a 20-year extension.
Prior to March 2011, Japan generated 30 percent of its electrical power from nuclear reactors.
Japan will not restart closed-down nuclear plants “unless safety is restored 100%,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Monday.
Japan is currently “completely dependent on fossil fuels,” Abe said at the World Leaders Forum, but he stressed again that “only when safety is established will plants return to operation.”