Protesters gathered outside the Japanese Prime Minister’s office in Tokyo today shortly after Yoshihiko Noda said Japan must restart two nuclear reactors at Fukushima.
Mr Noda had appealed to the nation to accept that two nuclear reactors that remained shuttered after the Fukushima disaster must be restarted to protect the economy and people’s livelihoods.
He claimed that the government has taken ample safety measures to ensure the two reactors in western Japan would not leak radiation if an earthquake or tsunami as severe as last year’s should strike them.
But the demonstrators disagreed, shouing slogans and waving placards proclaiming that the reactors must stay closed down.
All 50 of Japan’s workable reactors are offline for maintenance and safety concerns since the magnitude 9 earthquake and tsunami swept into Fukushima in 2011 and sparked the world’s second-worst nuclear disaster.
The two reactors at the Ohi nuclear plant are said to be ready to resume generating power, but the public has shown great concern that government failures worsened last year’s crisis and may recur.
Nuclear energy is crucial for Japanese society, the Prime Minister claimed in a live broadcast.
“We should restart the Ohi 3 and 4 reactors in order to protect the people’s livelihoods,” Mr Noda said.
“Japanese society cannot survive if we stop all nuclear reactors or keep them halted.”
He claimed that a 15 per cent power deficit is expected in the western region, a level he called “severe.”
Local consent is not legally required for restarting the reactors, though government ministers have promised to gain understanding from the prefecture.
The government issued new safety guidelines in April to address residents’ worries. In response, Kansai Electric Power submitted its safety plans for two reactors at the plant, but warned that the full upgrades will take up to three
Some measures to secure cooling functions and prevent another meltdown have been installed, but more than one-third of necessary upgrades are still incomplete.
Filter vents that could substantially reduce radiation leaks in case of an accident, a radiation-free crisis management building and fences to block debris washed up by a tsunami won’t be ready until 2015.
Official inflation figures understate the real extent of rising costs, but even the government's own CPI scheme lays bare the ongoing misery for working people and those dependent on benefits.
The Con-Dems have had it their way too long. We have to turn this country around
How high-quality primary schooling could help solve global poverty