Estimated 170,000 gather at anti-nuclear rally

Japanese protest over nukes

Tens of thousands of people gathered in the Tokyo on Monday in a “sayonara nukes” rally to protest against the Japanese government’s continued nuclear power programme.

The demonstration was fuelled by recent reports that the Japanese capital, the most populous city in the world with around 30m people, narrowly avoided nuclear disaster following the Fukushima meltdown in March 2011. Tokyo lies 130 miles away from the where the incident took place.

The protest was the largest seen in Japan for decades, with organisers estimating the total number of people to be around 170,000. Police claimed that the number was closer to 75,000.

Leading Japanese anti-nuclear figures attended the rally, with Nobel Laureate Kenzaburo Oe speaking at the event. The 77-year-old writer claimed to have gathered 7.5m signatures opposing nuclear power.

Many attending the demonstration were unhappy that the Japanese government had switched on at least one nuclear reactor while doubts remained about the safety of nuclear power.

Support for Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s ruling Democratic Party of Japan has been waning recently, and the walkout of a senior figure along with 48 party members earlier this month compounded the increasingly vocal opposition to Noda’s pro-nuclear policies.

Has the Fukshima incident put into question the future of nuclear power in general - or does it remain a key source of future energy?

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