Japan: Anti-nuke protesters surround Parliament
Tokyo: Protesters took to the streets again in central Tokyo on Sunday to oppose the recent resumption of two reactors at the Oi nuclear power plant in western Japan after all of the nation's reactors were closed following the Fukushima nuclear crisis.
The demonstration was organised by the Metropolitan Coalition Against Nukes, who rallies in front of the Prime Minister's Office every Friday.
Thousands of people formed "a human chain" around Japan's Parliament complex today to demand the government abandon nuclear power.
The crowd appeared to be smaller Sunday. Kyodo News service estimated it at about 10,000 people. Participants said they came from across Japan, underlining the widespread appeal of the protests.
Also on Sunday, voters went to the polls in a closely-watched election for governor of southwestern Yamaguchi prefecture, where an outspoken anti-nuclear candidate was running. Japanese media reported his loss late Sunday, citing exit polls, although official results had not been tallied.
Protesters said they were angry the government restarted two reactors earlier this month despite safety worries after the multiple meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in March last year.
Similar rallies have been staged for several times. While the first rally on March 29 drew only about 300 people, the number of participants has grown since.
On June 29, the number of protesters reached around 200,000, according to the organisers. But the Metropolitan Police Department reported a much lower figure of 17,000.
Misao Redwolf, one of the rally's organisers, said on Friday that the weekly rallies will not stop until the government shuts down the Oi reactors. Japanese government approved the restart of two reactors at the Oi plant on June 16 to tackle power shortage during the summertime.
Fukushima No 1 nuclear power plant on the Pacific coast in northeastern Japan was crippled by a major earthquake and ensuing tsunami on March 11, 2011, triggering the worst radioactive leakage in history.
Japan's 30 percent of electricity relies on generation of nuclear power.