Protest march over nuclear power in Japan

Sunday 10 March 2013 22.09
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All of Japan's 50 reactors were gradually shut down after the Fukushima disaster
All of Japan's 50 reactors were gradually shut down after the Fukushima disaster
A recent survey showed about 70% of Japanese want to phase out nuclear power eventually
A recent survey showed about 70% of Japanese want to phase out nuclear power eventually

Thousands of protesters have marched in the Japanese capital calling on the government to shun nuclear power.

The protest comes a day before the second anniversary of an earthquake and tsunami that triggered the world's worst atomic disaster in 25 years.

Japan is still coming to terms with the disaster that ravaged its northeastern region two years ago.

The earthquake and tsunami killed more than 15,000 people.

Several thousand people are still unaccounted for.

The nuclear meltdown at Tokyo Electric Power's Fukushima Daiichi plant forced 160,000 people from their homes and many of them will never return.

It also sparked an unprecedented protest movement against nuclear power.

Tepco faces a decades-long effort to decontaminate and decommission the wrecked nuclear plant after the worst atomic disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.

All of Japan's 50 reactors were gradually shut down after the Fukushima disaster and all but two of them remain idle.

But the sweeping December victory of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Liberal Democratic Party, which long supported nuclear power and fostered ties between politicians, bureaucrats and utilities, is a worry for nuclear power's opponents.

A recent survey showed about 70% of Japanese want to phase out nuclear power eventually.

An equal number backs Mr Abe, who wants to restart off-line reactors if they meet new safety standards.