Prayers and protest in Japan

Updated - November 17, 2021 04:01 am IST

Published - June 11, 2011 10:34 am IST - SINGAPORE

Officials wear protective suits during the emergency scanning in Koriyama. File Photo

Officials wear protective suits during the emergency scanning in Koriyama. File Photo

Japan on Saturday observed the completion of three months since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami with silent prayers and a parallel protest march in Tokyo against unsafe nuclear energy reflecting a climate of continuing crisis.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who recently survived a no-trust vote in the House of Representatives over this crisis, affirmed a few days later he would stay in office until he could set in process a firm recovery plan.

It was, however, revealed on Saturday that a public opinion survey among the affected people showed a high proportion of them, at 77 per cent, being dissatisfied with the pace of reconstruction effort. Unofficial estimates placed the number of dead and “missing” at nearly 25,000. It was also estimated that about 90,000 persons, who had to vacate their homes in a 20-km zone around the quake-and-tsunami-devastated Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, were still staying at designated evacuation centres.

With the Daiichi plant having turned into an epicentre of a continuing nuclear radiation crisis, the worst in the world since the 1986 Chernobyl accident, much attention on Saturday remained focussed on this aspect.

Experts spoke about the general “myth of nuclear safety” in a high-tech society and about the “human” causes of the Daiichi crisis, which in the first place was triggered by natural disasters. Amid such a climate of opinion, Tokyo submitted a report to the International Atomic Energy Agency, and a top Japanese official concluded “meaningful” talks with the nuclear regulatory authorities in the United States.

There was no let-up in public focus on the “melt-down” of several nuclear reactors at the Daiichi plant and on the levels of radiation that the workers there had been exposed to in their efforts to control the crisis. A poignant aspect, amid such concerns, was the move by the officials of a town outside the 20-km evacuation zone to distribute dosimeters to kindergarten children to monitor their exposure to nuclear radiation.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.