The pro-nuclear policies of Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have been criticised by four former Prime Ministers.
Junichiro Koizumi told the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo on November 12: "I think we should go to zero now. If we re-start the reactors, all that will result is more nuclear waste." He said the LDP is divided equally between those who want to get rid of nuclear power and those who think it's necessary. "Nobody has had more favourable conditions to achieve a nuclear-free option than Abe," Koizumi said.
Last year, former Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama joined an anti-nuclear protest outside the residence of then Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda.
Naoto Kan, the DPJ prime minister when the earthquake and tsunami hit in 2011, told an audience in New York on October 8 that he had been a supporter of nuclear power, but after the Fukushima accident, "I changed my thinking 180-degrees, completely." He said that in the first days of the accident it looked like an "area that included Tokyo" and populated by 50 million people might have to be evacuated. "There is no other disaster that would affect 50 million people − maybe a war," Kan said. "There is only one way to eliminate such accidents, which is to get rid of all nuclear power plants."[1,3,4]
A fourth former prime minister, Morihiro Hosokawa, said in an interview published on November 12 that Abe's nuclear energy policy was a "crime" and that he was willing to campaign against it.
On October 28, Niigata Prefecture Governor Hirohiko Izumida said TEPCO must give a fuller account of the Fukushima disaster and address its "institutionalized lying" before it can expect to restart reactors. Izumida cited TEPCO's belated admission in July − following months of denials − that the Fukushima plant was leaking radioactive substances into the ocean as evidence that TEPCO has not changed. "If they don't do what needs to be done, if they keep skimping on costs and manipulating information, they can never be trusted," he said.
Izumida effectively holds a veto over TEPCO's plan to restart reactors at the Kashiwazaki Kariwa plant, the world's largest. Even if Japan's nuclear safety regulators approve restart plans for Kashiwazaki Kariwa, Izumida can effectively block them because of TEPCO's need to win backing from local officials.
Izumida said he would launch his own commission to investigate the causes and handling of the Fukushima crisis and whether strengthened regulatory safeguards were sufficient to prevent a similar disaster. He warned TEPCO: "If they cooperate with us, we will be able to proceed smoothly. If not, we won't."
Izumida urged Japan's government to strip TEPCO of responsibility for decommissioning the Fukushima plant: "Unless we create a situation where 80-90 percent of their thinking is devoted to nuclear safety, I don't think we can say they have prioritised safety."
Izumida also called on the government to make the 6,000 decommissioning and decontamination workers public employees. "The workers at the plant are risking their health and giving it their all. They are out in the rain. They are out at night," Izumida said. "The government needs to respect their efforts and address the situation."
And in case Izumida's message was lost on TEPCO, he added: "There are three things required of a company that runs nuclear power plants: don't lie, keep your promises and fulfil your social responsibility."
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters on November 12: "It's the government's responsibility to ensure a stable and inexpensive supply of energy. There is no change to our policy of keeping nuclear power to a minimum."
A member of the Upper House of the Japanese Parliament has been reprimanded for handing a letter to Emperor Akihito at an October 31 imperial garden party expressing his anti-nuclear concerns. The Upper House steering committee summoned Taro Yamamoto, who campaigned as an anti-nuclear independent in the July 2013 election, for questioning about the incident. On November 8, Yamamoto was reprimanded by the Upper House and barred from attending events with the imperial family.
Yamamoto said. "I, as an individual, only wanted to tell the emperor the truth about the health hazard posed to children and the workers who are exposed to radiation and being abandoned [at Fukushima]. I wanted to explain the plight of children exposed to radiation released after a nuclear accident and people who are working at the facility in the worst conditions."
In 2011, Yamamoto flew to Saga Prefecture and attempted to break into the governor's office to protest the restart of a nuclear power plant.
Protest marches and actions
An estimated 40,000 people rallied against nuclear power in Tokyo on October 13. The protest was organised by three anti-nuclear groups − the Metropolitan Coalition against Nukes, 'Sayonara Genpatsu 1,000 mannin Action' ('Good-bye to nuclear power through action by 10 million people') and 'Genpatsu wo Nakusu Zenkoku Renrakukai' ('National conference on abolishing nuclear power plants') − to express their opposition to the government's push for reactor restarts. After the rally, protesters marched nearby to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry office as well as the head office of TEPCO.[9,10]
About 600 people attended a march on the evening of Wednesday, October 30. Most of the attendees came straight from their offices. Participants marched nearly 2 kms in the business district and passed by the TEPCO head office. The event organiser's aim was to increase the involvement of office workers, who generally hesitate to join demonstrations, in the anti-nuclear movement.
Many 'Fukushima is Here' photo-actions took place around the world on October 19. For more information visit:
Surveys published in the Asahi and Mainichi newspapers on November 12 found 60% and 54% of respondents respectively agreed that Japan should aim to go nuclear-free. The Asahi newspaper polled 1,751 people by phone on November 9-10, the same days the Mainichi polled 966 people by phone.
Citizens targeted in cyber-attacks
At least 33 groups anti-nuclear citizens groups around Japan have been targeted in a campaign of cyber-attacks since mid-September. They have been on the receiving end of a blizzard of e-mail traffic − more than 2.5 million messages since the attacks began. These are known as 'denial of service' attacks because they aim to obstruct the activities of the targeted organisations. Experts said there was little doubt that a computer program developed exclusively for the purpose was used.
The groups targeted include the Women's Active Museum on War and Peace and the Metropolitan Coalition Against Nukes. One e-mail read: "Unless we kill all of the anti-nuclear believers, world peace will be never achieved."
Lawyer Yuichi Kaido, acting on behalf of citizens groups, said he is considering filing a criminal complaint against the senders of the e-mails on grounds of forcible obstruction of business ... if the perpetrators can be found.
 Isabel Reynolds and Takashi Hirokawa, 12 Nov 2013, 'Abe Mentor Koizumi Reignites Post-Fukushima Nuclear Debate', www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-11-12/japan-ex-premier-koizumi-to-speak-agai...
 Ayako Mie, 12 Nov 2013, 'Koizumi calls on Abe to ditch nuclear power', www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/11/12/national/koizumi-calls-on-abe-to-di...
 Karl Grossman, 10 Oct 2013, 'Powerful Presentations on Fukushima and Nuclear Power', www.opednews.com/articles/Powerful-Presentations-on-by-Karl-Grossman-Cat...
 David Biello, 'The Nuclear Odyssey of Naoto Kan, Japan's Prime Minister during Fukushima', www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=nuclear-power-odyssey-of-naoto...
 Antoni Slodkowski and Kentaro Hamada, 29 Oct 2013, 'Tepco can't yet be trusted to restart world's biggest nuclear plant: governor', http://planetark.org/enviro-news/item/70199
 1 Nov 2013, 'Anti-nuclear politician under fire for handing letter to emperor' http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201311010075
 Elaine Lies, 8 Nov 2013, 'Japan lawmaker reprimanded after emperor letter hits nerve', www.euronews.com/newswires/2200052-japan-lawmaker-reprimanded-after-empe...
 'Thousands mass for antinuclear rally in Tokyo', 13 Oct 2013, www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/10/13/national/thousands-mass-for-antinuc...
 'Tens of thousands of protesters attend anti-nuclear events in Tokyo', 14 Oct 2013, http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201310140073
 'Office workers march in anti-nuclear demonstration in Tokyo', 31 Oct 2013, http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201310310072
 Tatsuya Sudo, 10 Nov 2013, 'Anti-nuclear citizens groups targeted in massive cyber-attack', http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201311100027
(Written by Nuclear Monitor editor Jim Green.)