A few minutes before 8:00 this evening, I was walking through Ginza when I stumbled across an antinuclear protest march.
To say that the meltdowns and ongoing crisis at the Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant have been a major source of public worry would be putting it mildly. I have heard about quite a few protests against nuclear power in the past few weeks (like this one), but tonight’s was the first I’d seen in person.
I am a lukewarm supporter of nuclear power (and yes, I know I’ll have to explain that at some point), so this is not a protest that I was tempted to join. Nonetheless, it did my heart good to see it.
Japan is a democracy, but for a long time it was a very passive one. When I see people who are motivated to take their opinions to the street (peacefully), I see it as a healthy sign of political energy.
The police who escort big protests in Tokyo tend to divide them into segments to avoid impeding ordinary street traffic. I saw two segments tonight. The first segment engaged in a lot of cacophonous shouting, but the second, larger group were repeating a catchy chant of “Stop nuclear power; decomission the Hamaoka plant.”
You don’t think that sounds catchy? Then try this: Translate it into Japanese, have the marchers repeat after a leader, and add drums:
See? It has a nice beat, and you can march to it.