Thousands of protesters filled the streets of Tokyo Saturday, to remind their government of the 19,000 people who died two years ago in the Fukushima nuclear disaster—urging that such a catastrophe should not be allowed to happen again.
"We can't believe the government is thinking about restarting the reactors after the horrendous damage and human pain the accident has caused," Izutaro Managi, a lawyer for a class-action lawsuit filed against the Japanese government and Tokyo Electric Power Company, the utility that operates Fukushima Dai-ichi, told Al Jazeera. "It is tantamount to victimizing the victims one more time."
Two of Japan's 50 working nuclear reactors have been restarted since the disaster spurred leaders to go nuke-free for a short period of time. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his conservative Liberal Democratic Party has repeatedly said he will allow more reactors to restart—a proposal that has caused continual mass protests across Japan throughout the year.
Protesters filled Tokyo's streets throughout the day Saturday, with an estimated 15,000 people gathering a central Tokyo park, waving lanterns and signs that read, "Let's save the children" and "No nukes." Some handed out leaflets, pleading to save animals abandoned in the no-go zone—the large radius surrounding Fukushima still deemed too toxic to return.
Nobel Prize-winning writer Kenzaburo Oe told protesters at the rally: "I am going to fight against those who act as though Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Fukushima never happened."
"I am going to fight to prevent any more reactors from being restarted."
As Al Jazeera notes, the problems brought on by the nuclear disaster are yet to be solved: "Two years after the disaster, 160,000 people have left their homes around the plant, entire sections of nearby communities are still ghost towns, and fears grow about cancer and other sicknesses the spewing radiation might bring."
Julian Ryall of the Telegraph reported earlier this week that scientists still do not have a grasp on the conditions of the reactor cores in three of the six units at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. They cannot enter the structures to investigate and are confined to using remote-controlled vehicles to get inside the "tangle of wires, pipes and rubble that has lain untouched since the tsunami tore through the facility."
The two year anniversary of the Fukushima disaster is on Monday March 11, on which commemorative services will be held throughout the nation. Another big Tokyo rally is also planned for Sunday.