Author Kenzaburo Oe calls for participants to rally against nuclear energy

by Kohei Okata, Staff Writer

Appealing to the public to join in an effort to end Japan’s reliance on nuclear energy, Nobel Prize-winning author Kenzaburo Oe held a news conference on July 12 at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan, located in Tokyo. Mr. Oe said that turning away from nuclear energy should become a new part of the nation’s spirit and he asked people to gather for a rally on July 16 at Yoyogi Park in Tokyo, with organizers seeking 100,000 participants.

In the wake of the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 (Daiichi) nuclear power plant, citizens have been using the Internet to communicate with one another and organizing weekly protests in front of the prime minister’s residence and other locations, Mr. Oe said. “The people of Japan have launched a new movement to end our reliance on nuclear energy and reduce the number of people who might suffer in the future. I hope this trend will become a national trait,” he stressed.

Satoshi Kamata, a freelance journalist and one of the organizers of the rally, also attended the news conference. Mr. Kamata criticized the Japanese government for its decision to restart nuclear reactors at the Oi nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture.

The rally seeks to press the Japanese government to include denuclearizing the nation’s energy sources as part of its new energy policy. Participants of the rally will include people opposed to the Chugoku Electric Power Company’s plan to construct a nuclear power plant in the town of Kaminoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture.

(Originally published on July 13, 2012)