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Massive Anti-Nuclear Energy Protest in Japan
September 19, 2011
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With this past spring's Fukushima nuclear tragedy still fresh in the minds of Japan's citizenry, tens of thousands of people - including Kenzaburo Oe, winner of the 1994 Nobel Prize in Literature, and musician Ryuichi Sakamoto (who scored The Last Emperor) - gathered in Tokyo today to protest the country's continued use of nuclear power.

The protests have their root in the March 11 tsunami that caused core meltdowns in three reactors in north-eastern Japan, which begat the worst nuclear disaster the world has seen since Chernobyl. Radiation threats have displaced 100,000 people and have affected produce, fish stocks and water.

Last week, Yoshihiko Noda - Japan's new prime minister - said that while the country "must move towards our mid- and long-term goals of lowering, as much as possible, our reliance on nuclear energy," the PM believes that nuclear power is still a part of their grid's equation: "It is not productive to see things in simple black and white, and talk in either anti-nuclear or pro-nuclear terms."

He went on to say the country would have a new energy policy within a year, with a greater focus on renewable energy.

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