Anti Nuclear Protest Shibuya – 7th May 2011

Not that you’d know it from any domestic media but there was a 5000 strong anti nuclear protest in the very heart of Tokyo on Saturday 7th May 2011.

Due perhaps to the weather (gray and rainy) or perhaps to the fact that the protest movement in Japan, despite recent premature talk of a “Sakura Revolution”, is little more than a passing fad it was much smaller than the Koenji demonstration a month ago and most of the protesters seemed to be there for nothing more than a day out.

The police presence was huge, both uniform grunts and shady plain clothes officers (Kempeitai anyone?) who filmed and photographed everyone of the “protesters” for their data bases.
To give the police credit though, they managed to break up the sizeable crowd into much smaller groups as soon as they left Yoyogi park with no resistance to this cynical ploy to make the demonstration look smaller to onlookers.
Any resistance to the police’s agenda of where and exactly in what size groups the “protestors” were going to go was met with the customary strong arm and questionably legal physicality we have come to know and love from the police.(to be fair to the Japanese keystone cops they have learnt this lesson well from other police forces around the world)

The protestors seemed to be offering no alternatives to the Nuclear power they were protesting against and in the light of recent events one is tempted to feel it’s far too little far too late.

It’s amazing to see that many people out protesting who are not ultra rightists ( the ‘no nuke’ crowd could learn a thing or two about protesting from their dark side brothers in the Uyoku Dantai) but their over polite attitude to the police’s co-opting of their demo and the usual Japanese problem of a glittery dressed up surface with little or no substance needs to be seriously addressed if they ever want to affect any real social change with their little djembe fueled get togethers.

Uchujin verdict?

D-

Not even close and definitely no cigar.

And so some pictures:-

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  • This is a great set. Really well covered. Love the angles and the details you managed to grab.

  • Nice photos but I must disagree.

    Would Kan have asked Chubu to disengage their reactors had there not been some initiative of people’s power? It’s hard to say. This government seems more responsive than the LDP.

    Anyways, Chubu agreed to the PM’s request and this, if nothing, is a very good thing.

  • Thx for you comments guys.

    @S.Miles
    You are entitled to your opinion and very welcome to disagree, that dialectic is after all a process used since the Greeks to allow us all to come to better understanding.
    Shame Japanese society doesn’t seem to quite get that opposing view points are needed for a democracy and a society to be healthy.

    As for the Hamaoka reactor thing, I think this had exactly zero to do with the protests.

    More importantly, why does the prime minister of a country that has just been through what Japan has been through have to ASK a power company anything?
    You are the PRIME MINISTER don’t f&*king ask, TELL!!!

  • S. Miles

    But you’re saying the protests accomplished nothing. This time the media did cover the event, both on TV and in newspapers and did not belittle the protesters’ efforts. A lot of people who were unaware of some groundswell now have some understanding.

    And why do you think the protests had nothing to do with the decision regarding Hamaoka?

    I think you may be comparing it to demonstration efforts in England, which isn’t quite fair. Protesting is a nascent phenomenon here and I for one, welcome its emergence.

  • I stand corrected on the Japanese media.

    Why is it unfair to compare the protest to protests in the UK?

    I also welcome the robots finally waking up and protesting, my point was just that they don’t seem to get what that actually means.

    A discussion that is difficult to have here and maybe far better in person.

    Thank you for your comments tho. Appreciated.
    Lets continue this in person.

  • S. Miles

    I guess it’s Friday night beers then. Hooray.