TOKYO (AP) – Chanting “Sayonara nuclear power” and waving banners, tens of thousands of people marched in central Tokyo on Monday to call on Japan’s government to abandon atomic energy in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear accident.
Police estimated the crowd at 20,000 people, while organizers said there were three times that many people.
Mari Joh, a 64-year-old woman who traveled from Hitachi city to collect signatures for a petition to shut down the Tokai Dai-ni nuclear plant not far from her home, acknowledged that shifting the country’s energy sources could take 20 years.
“But if the government doesn’t act decisively now to set a new course, we’ll just continue with the status quo,” she said Monday. “I want to use natural energy, like solar, wind and biomass.”
Before the march, the protesters gathered in Meiji Park to hear speakers address the crowd, including one woman from Fukushima prefecture, Reiko Muto, who described herself as a “hibakusha,” an emotionally laden term for survivors of the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
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