Today it was exactly 6 months after the big 2011 Tōhoku earthquake hit Japan. The most serious long-time effect of this natural disaster was the nuclear meltdown in the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. Damaging several reactors beyond repair, releasing a large amount of radiation and forcing the evacuation of tens of thousands of people, this catastrophe is severely affecting the Japanese psyche and everyday life. For example, while food from the Fukushima prefecture is still being sold in supermarkets and normal life goes on outside of the 30km evacuation zone, some people start to wonder about the reactions of the Japanese national government and local authorities. Few even question the official information policies and urge the government to protect their children from radiation leaking from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.
However, taking to the streets is still an extremely unusual stance and reserved for political fringe types. Demanding answers about nuclear safety issues and openly criticizing the authorities in the form of a public rally does not draw big crowds. Even in the metropolis of Tokyo the “9.11 Shinjuku Stop Nuclear Power protest!” (9.11 新宿・原発やめろデモ) was rather lightly attended, I guess about 1500-2500 people showed up. The demo route was through the busy Sunday shopping frenzy in Shinjuku. A large number of police kept the protesters in line, although incidents did happen and arrests were made.