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Thousands protest in Japan against nuclear power

Thousands protest in Japan against nuclear power
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A large demonstration has taken place in Tokyo calling for an end to nuclear energy in Japan, just over six months after the earthquake and tsunami that crippled the Fukushima power plant.

The protest on Monday was one of the biggest since the disaster: 60,000 strong, said the organisers; 20,000 said the police.

The government says its aim is to lower the country’s dependence on nuclear power. Not good enough, say the protesters.

“We want the government to say clearly when they will stop using nuclear power so that all of us can be relieved and work hard towards using renewable energy,” said protest leader Yasunari Fujimoto.

The new Japanese industry minister has said local opposition will make it difficult to reactivate Fukushima’s second reactor, even though it was less badly damaged than the main reactor to be hit by the disaster.

The go-ahead from local authorities is required if the reactors are to be started up again.

80,000 people were forced to leave their homes because of high radiation levels.

The UN’s nuclear watchdog the IAEA said this month that the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant were “essentially stable”, and it was confident that they would be brought under control by early next year as planned.