JAPAN TIMES, ASAHI SHIMBUN, JAPAN TODAY (Japan)
TOKYO – Thousands of people gathered in Tokyo on Sunday to form a human chain around the parliament building, to protest against the reopening of nuclear power plants, after the Fukushima disaster reports the Japan Times.
Organizers set up "family" area for parents/children, wheelchair-bound at the Diet. Costumes abound #Tokyo #antinuke— Kenji Hall (@Kenji_Hall) July 29, 2012">twitter.com/Kenji_Hall/sta…Organizers set up "family" area for parents/children, wheelchair-bound at the Diet. Costumes abound #Tokyo #antinuke http://t.co/EOI444S9— Kenji Hall (@Kenji Hall) 1343557688
Event organizers said 200,000 people attended, though police estimates put that number at under 20,000 according to the Asahi Shimbun. This is the latest in more than four months of demonstrations. The number of protesters increased sharply in late June after the Japanese government announced it had decided to restart two reactors at the Oi nuclear plant.
The two reactors were the first to return to operation since May, said Japan Today, when the last of Japan's 50 reactors went offline for security check-ups.
According to the website, there haven't been such massive demonstrations since the 1960's. Japanese people usually don't demonstrate, said Shoji Kitano, a 64-year-old retired math teacher, but they are outraged over the restarting of nuclear power.
What is surprising, said the Japan Times, is that for the first time, protesters are not just anti-nuclear activists, but also many ordinary citizens. Some of the participants said they were attending a rally for the first time.
Candlelight vigils have been held outside the Prime Minister Noda's residence every Friday evening.