An estimated sixty thousand people took to the streets in Tokyo on September 19 to say Goodbye to nuclear power. It was the largest anti-nuclear demonstration ever in Japan. On September 11, exactly six months after the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdowns, already many thousands had demonstrated all over Japan to vent their anger at the government's handling of the nuclear crisis. Three young men and a woman started a 10 day hunger strike in front of the Ministry of Economy Industry and Trade, the planner and sponsor of nuclear power.
In one of the largest protests on September 11, an estimated 2,500 people marched past the headquarters of the plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, and created a "human chain" around the building of the Trade Ministry that oversees the power industry. Protesters called for a complete shutdown of nuclear power plants across Japan and demanded a shift in government policy toward alternative sources of energy.
Japan can switch off all nuclear plants permanently by 2012 and still achieve both economic recovery and its CO2 reduction goals, according to a new Greenpeace report. Released on September 11, the Advanced Energy [R]evolution report for Japan, shows how energy efficiency and rapid deployment of renewable technology can provide all the power Japan needs.
The report - with calculations by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies (ISEP) - shows that Japan's wind and solar generation capacity can be ramped up from the existing 3,500 MW to 47,200 MW by 2015. This represents around 1000 new wind turbines deployed per year, and an increase in the current annual solar PV market by a factor of five, supplying electricity for around 20 million households. At the same time, load reduction strategies would cut Japan's energy demand by 11,000 MW, equal to the capacity of 10 to 12 nuclear reactors.
Japan Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's effort to win public support for restarting nuclear reactors faces a setback after his minister in charge of the industry was forced to resign just nine days into the job. Yoshio Hachiro stepped down as head of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry on Sept. 10, under fire for using 'towns of death' to describe the evacuation zone around the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant and joking about radiation.
The full Greenpeace Advanced Energy [R]evolution Report for Japan can be found at: www.greenpeace.org/japan/Global/japan/pdf/er_report.pdf
Sources: Bloomberg, 11 September 2011 / Reuters, 11 September 2011
Contact: Citizens' Nuclear Information Center (CNIC). Akebonobashi Co-op 2F-B, 8-5 Sumiyoshi-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, 162-0065, Japan