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We need reconstruction that primarily assists disaster victims and aims for zero nuclear power

Concerted actions at 300 locations across the country

写真Shortly before the country observed the second anniversary of the March 11 Great Eastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami and a critical accident at a nuclear power plant, the National Liaison Council for the Elimination of Nuclear Power Plants called for a nationwide concerted action. The National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) is a member of the liaison council.

Study meetings, rallies and publicity actions as well as demonstrations were held on and around March 10 at 300 locations in all of the country’s 47 prefectures. Participants’ shouts calling for “post-disaster reconstruction in the best interest of victims” and for “change in politics that realizes zero nuclear power” shook the Japanese archipelago.

The government must first take a hard look at the reality of Fukushima

On March 10, about 5,000 people took part in a rally. Zenroren Vice President ITO Junichi spoke on behalf of the organizers.

He said, “Prime Minister ABE Shinzo has made clear that he is committed to the promotion of nuclear power at the beck and call of the Japanese business leaders and the United States. But an opinion survey shows that more than 75 percent of the public believes that we should give up nuclear power. The movement for a society without nuclear power is growing extensively.” He called for the elimination of nuclear power plants, the utmost use of renewable energy sources, and the post-disaster reconstruction in the best interest of residents.

A group of high schools students from Fukushima spoke about hardships they are experiencing every day due to fear of possible radiation exposure and about difficulty they are forced to endure as evacuees .They said, “We are apprehensive about our future due to the fear that we might not be able to give birth or that we might suffer from cancer. We hesitate to talk with our family members about these concerns even. We ask the government to share the bitter sentiments of people in Fukushima.”

Let us make year 2013 “the first year of zero nuclear power”

YAMAZAKI Kimio, secretary of the Yamada Town Employees’ Union in Iwate Prefecture, spoke about difficulties facing the municipality. He said that the town budget for the next fiscal year (starting April 1, 2013) will grow 10 times due to an increase in the costs for post-disaster reconstruction but that the number of municipal employees has increased by only 30 percent. He said, “We don’t know how we can do our work” because of a shortage of employees.

A survivor of the March 11, 2013 disaster from Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, said he needs a temporary house with larger space to share with relatives who lost their home to live in, but his request for such a temporary housing has been turned down by the prefecture and the city. He said, “I ask the national and local governments to extend heartfelt assistance to the survivors. I ask all of you not to forget people in the stricken areas.”

A representative of the metropolitan anti-nuclear power coalition spoke in solidarity with the rally participants. She said, “We will step up the effort toward the upcoming House of Councilors election to further increase public opinion pressing the government to implement a zero nuclear power policy so that we can mark the year 2013 the first year of making the country without nuclear power.

After the rally, participants staged a protest in front of Tokyo Electric Power Company, the operator of the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, and participated in an action organized by the anti-nuclear power coalition. A total of 40,000 people took part in the coalition’s action.

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