Revolution #237, June 26, 2011

Japan: Protests Mark 3 Months Since Nuclear Disaster

On Saturday, June 11, anti-nuclear protests took place in 140 locations in Japan, and in a number of other countries. The date marked three months from the start of the ongoing disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami. In Tokyo, people marched on the headquarters of TEPCO, the corporate owner of the Fukushima plant, and demanded that all nuclear plants be shut down. Organizers said the crowd swelled to 20,000 people. There were some confrontations with police, and the police broke up the protests that night. Many of those in the streets were protesting for the first time. A 28-year-old woman who brought her two- and four-year-old kids said, “If they don’t get the message now, what else has to happen before we stop using atomic energy which has proved so dangerous?”

Increasingly, broad sections of people in Japan are being brought into political life and angry opposition as revelations continue to pour out exposing how the government and TEPCO have covered up the real extent and deep dangers present in the radioactive contamination from Fukushima. Farmers and fisherpeople, whose livelihoods are being destroyed because of land and sea contamination, have been speaking out and holding protests. People in many areas have been forced to try to monitor radiation contamination themselves because the government is failing to do so and to warn them. On May 23, parents from the city of Fukushima encircled the Ministry of Education in Tokyo after the government raised the allowable radiation exposure level for schoolchildren twentyfold annually. Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency recently admitted that a full nuclear meltdown had occurred in three of Fukushima’s reactors and that the amount of escaped radiation was double the original estimates. Massive and widespread poisoning of people, land, and the ocean has already occurred, and the crisis is far from over.

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