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Ahead of Fukushima anniversary, thousands protest Japan's nuclear power policies

Saturday, March 08, 2014 - 00:46

March 9 - Thousands protest in front of Japanese parliament days ahead of third anniversary of earthquake and tsunami that caused meltdowns at Fukushima nuclear plant. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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Thousands gathered on Sunday (March 9) two days before the third anniversary of Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami as former Prime Minister Naoto Kan criticized the ruling party's stance on nuclear power. Kan, who was the Japan premier during the March 11, 2011 nuclear catastrophe, has openly declared the need for Japan to end its reliance on atomic power and promote renewable sources of energy such as solar power that have long taken a back seat in the resource-poor country's energy mix. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is keen to restart Japan's idled nuclear reactors to cut the cost of fossil fuel imports used by power stations, which have swelled the trade deficit to a record and driven up electricity prices. After the huge earthquake and tsunami struck, three reactors at the Fukushima plant suffered meltdowns and radiation spewed widely through eastern Japan, contaminating water and crops and forcing tens of thousands of residents to evacuate. The government has taken measures to institute safety measures with the ability to withstand natural disasters For many, however, the government's promise that everything is under control now is not enough. Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co, known as Tepco, managed to avert the worst scenario by pumping water, much of it from the sea, into Daiichi's damaged reactors and spent fuel pools. After several scares, including one where radioactive water spilled into the sea, the reactors were stabilized by December of the same year. Three years on, however, the operator continues to struggle with the crippled reactor. Japan's nuclear shutdown has forced it to import costly fossil fuel, pushing the economy into a record 18 months of trade deficits.

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Ahead of Fukushima anniversary, thousands protest Japan's nuclear power policies

Saturday, March 08, 2014 - 00:46