Thousands protest ahead of Fukushima anniversary

TOKYO — Banging on drums and waving “Sayonara nukes” signs, thousands of people rallied in a Tokyo park and marched to Parliament on Sunday to demand an end to nuclear power ahead of the third anniversary of the Fukushima disaster.

Participants at the demonstration, one of several planned across cities in Japan, said they would never forget the March 11, 2011, nuclear disaster, the worst since Chernobyl.

They also vowed to block a move by the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to restart some of the 48 idled reactors and backpedal on the commitment by the previous government to aggressively reduce the nation’s reliance on nuclear power. Oil imports have soared since the disaster, hurting the economy.

Katsutoshi Sato, a retired railway worker at the rally, was holding a fishing pole with a picture of a fish dangling at the end to highlight his worries about radiation contaminating the rivers.

“The protests are growing,” he said, noting he was taking part in his third anti-nuclear demonstration. “All kinds of people are joining, including families with kids.”

Protests like Sunday’s have popped up across the nation over the last three years, as the usually docile and conformist Japanese begin to question the government’s assurances that nuclear power is safe.

The movement has also drawn celebrities like Ryuichi Sakamoto, who shared an Oscar for “The Last Emperor” score, and Nobel Prize-winning author Kenzaburo Oe.

The Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, which exploded and underwent three core meltdowns, continues to spew radiation into the air and sea. Decommissioning is expected to take decades.

Robert Geller, a seismologist at the University of Tokyo, said it was troubling that after three years there is no full explanation on what went wrong at Fukushima, and how to avoid a recurrence.

More in Local News

Bicycle tour raises money for dialysis patients

Volunteers also shared health information and put together care packages for homeless women.

Elderly couple escape serious injuries in crash with train

The driver drove down tracks instead of a road, hitting a slow-moving train near Stanwood.

Expect river levels to keep rising, though sun is on the way

Some could crest above minor and moderate flood levels.

Arrests made in robbery-turned fatal Everett shooting

A man, 24, and woman, 18, were found at a hotel in Seattle.

Boeing reaches out to schools

Company employees helped Everett students at recent reading and Manufacturing Day events.

5-vehicle collision sends school bus into ditch; no injuries

No students were hurt when a school bus crashed into… Continue reading

Fire crew returns early from wildfires in Northern California

Four Everett firefighters returned from battling California wildfires late Thursday… Continue reading

Theft lands former insurance salesman 50 days in jail

A former insurance salesman is expected to report to jail… Continue reading

Pair of intrepid musicians climb N. Cascades summits to play

Rose Freeman and Anastasia Allison pack their instruments up mountains for high-altitude recitals.

Most Read