“No more Nagasaki, no more Fukushima,” cried thousands of protesters at a rally in Japan as the country’s last working nuclear reactor shut down.
It is the first time Japan has been completely without nuclear power in four decades. Those reactors not damaged by the earthquake and tsunami just over a year ago have progressively gone offline for routine maintenance.
Protesters like Saya Saruta, a human rights lawyer, say they should never be restarted.
“After today, we will have zero nuclear plants,” she said. “We have to make this zero moment last forever. Not only today or tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, but let’s make this zero nuclear plant, forever.”
Prior to the Fukushima disaster, 30 per cent of Japan’s energy needs were met by nuclear power and the government has warned of power shortages in the hot summer months if some plants aren’t restarted.
But with Fukushima continuing to spew radiation into the air and sea, public momentum for a nuclear-free Japan remains strong.
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