The only reporter I could spot at the Osaka protest (Cf. Protest Against Radioactive Waste In Osaka in SurvivalJapan) was from the Mainichi Shimbun. Yomiuri Shimbun is a pro-nuclear news and powerful lobby with links to the CIA since the 1950, with its head Matsutaro Shoriki, to promote and sustain nuclear energy (and possibly weapon technology?) in Japan so their coverage is less and more biased unfortunately. Asahi Shimbun reported about a petition signature campaign in both Tokyo and Osaka on the same day for a referendum to take place, as per their article reproduced below:

Asahi Shimbun – Petition for nuke referendums to start in Tokyo, Osaka

December 09, 2011

A citizens group will circulate a petition beginning Dec. 10 for local referendums on nuclear power generation, with the goal of obtaining 300,000 signatures in Tokyo and 60,000 in Osaka.

Citizens can call on their local governments to establish an ordinance for holding a referendum if they collect valid signatures of one-50th the number of registered voters in two months.

The group, “Minna de Kimeyo Genpatsu Kokumin Tohyo,” needs 214,236 signatures in Tokyo. But the goal was set higher because up to 30 percent of signatures may be deemed invalid if past examples are a guide.

The group believes local residents, not the government or electric power companies, must decide on the issue of nuclear power generation through referendums.

In addition to the group’s representatives, only people commissioned by the group and registered with the local governments can collect signatures.

The group has enlisted 8,500 such commissioners in Tokyo and 1,800 in Osaka as of Dec. 7.

Nobel Prize writer Kenzaburo Oe and actor Yamamoto Taro support the end of nuclear energy in Japan. The latter protested against the restart of troubled Genkai nuclear plant in Saga prefecture, Kyushu (Cf. Nuclear Incident in Kyushu on SurvivalJapan and the Kyodo article below, in which I swapped the cold, criminal-looking picture by a cooler one – it seems Kyodo supports nuclear energy from their title and picture choices) and supported the campaign yesterday in Tokyo (read the Asahi Shimbun article hereafter). Kenzaburo Oe took part in the protest in Hibiya Park in Tokyo yesterday (read the Mainichi Shimbun article hereafter).

This kind of actions could change the political stance about nuclear energy and affect the whole of Japan and its neighbors. Some talks are rumored to be taking place about switching back to thermal energy. Japanese are capable of drastic turnarounds once the balance is tipped off so a day may hopefully come soon when everybody can talk openly about the risks and the current radiation victims of Fukushima (officially none – yet already 18,000 workers spent some time at the highly radioactive facility – not counting police and ground self-defense forces). There are also some unconfirmed rumors that the Mayor of Osaka, M. Hashimoto, did not take the full measure that his radioactive waste incineration plan could cost him dearly on his grand plan to turn Osaka in a larger administrative division akin to Tokyo (an Osaka Metropolis – in Japanese: 「大阪都」) which would grant him more political power, and that he would be starting to reconsider.

Kyodo – Prosecutors accept complaint against antinuclear actor Yamamoto

SAGA, Japan, Sept. 22, Kyodo

Prosecutors in Saga Prefecture in southwestern Japan have accepted a criminal complaint against actor Taro Yamamoto on suspicion of trespassing and interference with public duty when he entered a local government building to file an antinuclear power protest.

A 27-year-old man filed the complaint against Yamamoto, 36, and several others over a July 11 incident at the Saga prefectural offices, where the people demanded along with about 150 activists that the local government not allow the restart of two idled reactors at the Genkai nuclear power station.

A cool Japanese actor: Yamamoto Taro

They handed a letter of request to a prefectural official and left the building after Saga Gov. Yasushi Furukawa declined to meet with the group.

The man, who lives in Kyoto, calls for severe punishment in the complaint, according to sources at the prosecutors’ office.

”An act of entering a prefectural office by getting over a barrier significantly deviates from freedom of expression guaranteed by the Constitution. It is unacceptable in a nation abiding by the rule of the law,” the complaint says.

In May, Yamamoto fired his agent after having his role in a television drama canceled apparently due to his antinuclear remarks following the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant triggered by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

== Kyodo

Asahi Shimbun – Campaign for nuclear referendum starts in Tokyo, Osaka

December 10, 2011

By KOSUKE SO / Staff Writer

A citizens’ advocacy group began a campaign to collect signatures in Tokyo and Osaka on Dec. 10 for referendums on the use of nuclear power.

A citizens group calls for signatures in Tokyo

Citizens can call on their local governments to establish an ordinance for holding a referendum if they collect valid signatures from at least one-50th the number of registered voters.

The campaign for signatures got under way in front of JR Shibuya Station in Tokyo and in front of Takashimaya department store’s Nanba outlet in Osaka.

Cartoon creator Tetsuya Chiba and actor Taro Yamamoto were among the campaigners in Tokyo, while bunraku puppet play narrator Toyotake Hanafusadayu participated in Osaka.

The group, Minna de Kimeyo Genpatsu Kokumin Tohyo (Let everyone participate in making decisions on nuclear power by referendum), was formed after the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant accident started in March.

The group, headed by journalist Hajime Imai, decided to seek referendums in Tokyo and Osaka since both the Tokyo metropolitan government and Osaka city government are major shareholders of their respective regional power companies, Tokyo Electric Power Co. and Kansai Electric Power Co.

Before the petition can be submitted to the Tokyo metropolitan government on Feb. 9, 214,236 signatures are required.

In Osaka, 42,673 signatures are needed by Jan. 9.

The group plans to garner 300,000 signatures in Tokyo and 60,000 in Osaka, with 30 percent or so invalid signatures taken into consideration.

On the morning of Dec. 10, Shotaro Kobayashi, a film director who represents the petitioners, and about 20 trustees who collect signatures stood at the Hachiko statue in Shibuya.

“Whether you are for or against nuclear power generation, I hope (the envisioned referendum) will give each person an opportunity to deeply consider the pluses and minuses,” Kobayashi told the crowd of onlookers.

Mainichi Shimbun – Nobel laureate, citizens urge abolition of nuclear reactors

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Nobel literature laureate Kenzaburo Oe and antinuclear activists held a rally in Tokyo on Saturday calling for the abolition of nuclear reactors in the aftermath of radiation leaks at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.

Addressing the protesters in Hibiya Park, who numbered around 5,500, according to the organizers, Oe condemned the Diet’s approval Friday of nuclear cooperation agreements with Jordan, Russia, South Korea and Vietnam to allow exports of Japanese-made reactors and technologies to the countries.

“The levels of politicians’ caution regarding nuclear reactors have returned to those before March 11” when the massive earthquake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima plant, Oe said.

Kenzaburo Oe

Only citizens’ movements based on a resolve to eliminate nuclear reactors are dependable when seeking to achieve that goal, now that politicians are increasingly losing a sense of danger in relying on nuclear power, the novelist said.

Ayako Oga, the 38-year-old chief of the secretariat of a civic group formed by Fukushima residents, said, “Our state of emergency will not end as long as there is a fear that radioactive substances could fall from the sky again (as a result of a nuclear accident), necessitating evacuation.”

After the rally, the protesters marched to the head office of Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the Fukushima plant, chanting, “Farewell to nuclear reactors, we cherish our lives.”

Mizuho Fukushima, the leader of the Social Democratic Party who took part in the demonstration, said, “I felt the feelings and enthusiasm of these people. We would like to make efforts to abolish nuclear reactors through our activities on the Diet floor.”

(Mainichi Japan) December 11, 2011

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