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Fukushima anniversary protests and vigils

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 
Fukushima second anniversary

Actions and vigils were held in an estimated 270 locations throughout Japan to mark the second anniversary of the Fukushima disaster. On March 10, an estimated 40,000 protesters demonstrated around Tokyo, including in front of the Prime Minister's official residence, ministry offices and Hibiya Park. Weekly anti-nuclear power rallies are still being held in Tokyo, as evidenced by a gathering of some 3,000 people outside the Prime Minister's office one recent cold February evening. The demonstrations are organised by the Metropolitan Coalition Against Nukes, a body made up of 13 groups as well as individual members.

In Fukushima Prefecture, thousands came out to demonstrate against nuclear power. On March 8, a citizens group called Fukushima Smile Project held its 31st anti-nuclear demonstration; the first was held last August.

Perhaps the largest protests were held in Taiwan. A March 9 protest in Taipei was attended by around 100,000 people, and tens of thousands participated in protests in other major cities. Taiwan is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, the same tectonically active region as Japan. Taiwan's three existing nuclear power plants are situated near to the coast on active fault lines. A partly-constructed fourth plant (seventh and eighth reactors) is the subject of intense opposition. A referendum on the fourth reactor is expected to be held later this year, and opinion polls currently indicate majority opposition.

In Germany, around 28,000 protesters rallied at four locations on March 9, expressing solidarity with victims of the Fukushima disaster and demanding a halt to the reactors that are still operational in Germany. In Lower Saxony, many thousands took part in a training exercise based on the scenario that an accident had occurred at Grohnde Nuclear Power Plant. People wearing protective gear washed down the vehicles of evacuees from areas in the vicinity of the plant and students took their pets with them as they evacuated in the training exercise. Protests and solidarity events were held in at least 20 locations in Germany.

In Paris, about 20,000 anti-nuclear demonstrators formed a human chain. The event was jointly organised by 26 anti-nuclear groups. Participants gathered at 18 locations in the city and began to march hand in hand at the same time.

Gatherings in South Korea reflected concerns over nuclear energy and nuclear weapons. In Seoul on March 9, several thousand people remembered the victims of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, and also called for denuclearisation of Asia and the world due to concerns about the growing tensions on the Korean Peninsula with a nuclear-capable North Korea. Among the participants were hibakusha who survived the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, as well as their descendants.

In London, crowds took to the streets on March 9. The protest was organised by the Sunflower Revolution, CND and Kick Nuclear. Demonstrators, including Japanese expats, wore sunflower garlands and carried an array of sunflower-covered flags and banners as they marched on London's streets.

The website links to actions that were held in many other countries including the Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia, India, Canada, the USA, Taiwan, and Mongolia.