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Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2012
Antinuclear demonstrators meet with lawmakers, seek talks with Noda
Organizers of the growing weekly antinuclear demonstrations outside the prime minister's office asked a group of lawmakers Tuesday to help them arrange a meeting with Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda so they can make a direct appeal to end Japan's use of nuclear power.
The demonstrators made their pitch in a meeting with more than 10 Diet members who are pushing the government to reduce dependence on nuclear power, including former Prime Minister Naoto Kan, former Upper House President Satsuki Eda and members of opposition parties.
The meeting indicated that the rallies organized by the Metropolitan Coalition Against Nukes, a group of various nonprofit organizations, are having an impact on lawmakers. The politicians told the citizens' groups that Noda should not ignore the voice of the demonstrators, whose weekly actions continue to attract large numbers of people.
"As organizers that have attracted thousands of people, it's really important that we directly hand our requests (to Noda) in writing," said Misao Redwolf, one of the organizers' representatives.
Kan told the group that in a recent meeting with Noda he observed that the demonstrations were having an impact on him.
"He has told me that he is not reluctant to meet with you," Kan said, adding he wants to help arrange a meeting.
Redwolf told the lawmakers that the organizers have asked some Diet members to arrange a meeting with Noda, but with no success. They now want to get more politicians onboard to build pressure on Noda.
The activists' demands include shutting down the two reactors at the Oi power plant in Fukui Prefecture that were restarted in July and refraining from starting up any of the other idled reactors, with the goal of abolishing all nuclear power as soon as possible.
The latest demonstration Sunday, during which protesters tried to surround the Diet building, drew about 200,000 people, according to organizers. The police put the number at 10,000 to 20,000.
Kan, who was prime minister when the Fukushima nuclear crisis erupted, stressed that it is crucial to decide precisely how the country can stop using nuclear power and create a policy to achieve that goal.