These protests also marked the arrival of a new generation of organizers largely new to political activism. According to Labornet Japan, "Nearly 90 percent of participants were young people in their 20s and 30s, and most of them were taking part in this kind of action for the first time and found out the mobilization through the Internet...The participation of such a large number of young people is a groundbreaking moment in the history of Japan's social movements."
Thus, in the midst of tragedy, something positive was emerging. Organizer Hajime Matsumoto expressed the enthusiasm that many shared at the sight of this new wave of protest. "Something has begun," said Matsumoto. "Otherwise, Japan will collapse."
What's more, the disarray within the Japanese ruling class was becoming increasingly stark. On April 8, Masayoshi Yoshino, a member of the Liberal Democratic Party (similar to the Republican Party in the U.S.) and a member of parliament from the Fukushima prefecture, held a news conference to declare:
"As a person who has had a pro-nuclear stance, I'm totally at a loss at the moment as to whether we should continue to promote Japan's nuclear energy sector...I know in my head that I should make a decision only when we have a thorough investigation into what happened. But my instinct tells me, "No more nuclear plants.""
No more nuclear plants. We can't afford many more maps like these.
BTW, you might have missed it since Fukushima seems unmenationable now in the US media, but Japan disclosed that Fukushima had been releasing twice as much radiation as had been previously admitted to. After all, important stuff like Weiner's weiner pictures were dominating the news then. One thing that's not being discussed is how Fukushima is releasing far more radiation than Chernobyl did (follow link for good maps). And, at this point, remember that nothing has been done to close off those damaged Japanese reactors. They are still open to the air and spewing radiation.
There's one thing that's been true from Three Mile Island to Chernobyl to Fukushima. Whatever you hear from the power company and the government, its always much worse. The scary thought is what that means for the reactor in NE that's going under the Missouri River flood waters, and about which what little media coverage there's been in the US as been very reassuring.
The best way to avoid having to worry about getting your own updated radiation maps for your neighborhood after yet another nuclear disaster is organize and not let them build or continue to operate a nuclear facility near you.
My instinct is yelling at me .... "No More Nuclear Plants".