Tens of thousands demonstrate against nuclear power in Japan
updated 7:46 AM EDT, Mon July 16, 2012
People hold placards to protest against nuclear power plants in Tokyo on July 16, 2012.
- Protesters spill out of large open space in central Tokyo
- Anti-nuclear demonstrations are gaining momentum in Japan
- The country recently restarted the first nuclear reactor since the Fukushima crisis
Tokyo (CNN) -- Tens of thousands of people crowded into a park in central Tokyo on Monday to protest the use of nuclear power in Japan, highlighting the growing opposition to atomic energy in the country since the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.
The peaceful demonstration took place on Japan's national day in an area the size of a large sports field in Yoyogi Park, near the bustling shopping and nightlife district of Shibuya.
The event attracted so many people on a hot July public holiday that many spilled out into the surrounding streets, unable to enter the main area. It brought together a broad mix of Japanese people, from seasoned environmental activists to families who hadn't participated in a protest before.
The colorful flags dotting the crowd along with the warm weather gave the demonstration the appearance of a summer music festival, but its message was deeply serious.
Report: Fukushima disaster man-made
Japan ends nuclear freeze
Study: Japan nuclear accident harms fish
The prominent musician and composed Ryuichi Sakamoto addressed the demonstrators from a stage, calling for an end to nuclear power in Japan. Participants held banners echoing his statements and criticizing the government.
Protesters then marched around the surrounding streets, chanting anti-nuclear slogans and drawing traffic to a halt.
Demonstrations against atomic energy have become a regular part of Japanese public life since the devastating earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 set off the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima plant. And the protests appear to be gaining momentum.
Each Friday, anti-nuclear demonstrators gather outside the Japanese prime minister's office. That protest has been getting bigger and bigger every week, especially since the Japanese government announced the reactivation of the first nuclear reactor since the Fukushima crisis.
Though no deaths have been attributed to the nuclear accident, the earthquake and tsunami killed more than 15,000 people in northeastern Japan. The damaged Fukushima spewed radiation, prompting the government to evacuate tens of thousands of people.
A recent report by an independent panel commissioned by the Japanese parliament said the Fukushima crisis was a "man-made disaster" that could have been avoided. It criticized the actions of the government, regulators and the plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co.
CNN's Junko Ogura reported from Tokyo; Jethro Mullen from Hong Kong.
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:26 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
updated 7:09 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
updated 1:01 PM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
updated 10:48 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
updated 12:07 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
updated 7:15 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
updated 7:06 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
updated 7:37 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
updated 2:18 AM EST, Fri February 8, 2013
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.