Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Social media a factor, as Japan’s anti nuclear protests influence government

Many of the protesters are disgusted and disillusioned with the mainstream Japanese media coverage of the nuclear problem. They credit the success of their movement to social media, word of mouth, and the Internet. And it is true that the mainstream Japanese media, which was the recipient of TEPCO’s annual $400 million worth of advertising, has
been very reluctant to even report on the existence of the protesters until recently.

Nuclear Power Protests Find Wide Support in Japan, The Daily Beast  Jake Adelstein,Nathalie-Kyoko Stucky Aug 19, 2012   A broad coalition of protesters opposes the re-opening of nuclear power plants in Japan, a country unaccustomed to social protest.    It’s hard to ignore more than 20,000 anti-nuclear protesters at your front door. It’s even harder in a country like Japan, where more often than not repressive tradition and political apathy combine to stifle social protest.

So
after Yoshihiko Noda, Japan’s unpopular prime minister, found his home
surrounded by thousands of protesters for weeks on end, he finally got
the message.

Last week the prime minister agreed, albeit reluctantly, to meet with
representatives of Japan’s increasingly vocal and influential citizens
network “Metropolitan Coalition Against Nukes” (MCAN).

According to an opinion poll conducted by the Mainichi Shimbun, a
major Japanese daily newspaper, almost half of Japan now sympathizes
with the protesters. That statistic is all the more remarkable in a
country which hasn’t seen mass social protest since the early 1960s.
But the anti-nuke coalition besieging the prime minister’s home and
other government sites is nothing if not broadbased, a characteristic
summed up by the characters of its two leaders: a tattooed female
artist and fashion designer and an ultra-conventional looking,
soft-spoken white-collar worker. How did this dynamic duo come
together and “politely” make themselves a force to be reckoned with?
And will they really make a difference? No one knows, of course, but
in the past few months Japan’s leaders have learned conclusively that
these two cannot be easily ignored…….

The numbers of participants at these weekly protests have grown
steadily, peaking at more than 20,000 at a special demonstration and
protest march held on Sunday, July 29. The event concluded with the
entire Japanese Diet building being surrounded by protesters in a
candlelight vigil. Some estimated the numbers at more than 100,000,
but even the low-end estimates, given by the police, are incredibly
high for Japan.

Hattori insists that his movement is not useless: “The fact that so
many people gather together for the same cause is a very rare thing.
The only demonstrations well known in Japan were those organized in
the 60s, and they were organized by labor unions and the participants
were workers. Here and now, it’s different. You can see families,
children, old people—in other words, very ordinary people from all
social classes. The government cannot ignore us anymore. And now the
prime minister has communicated to us that he would meet us in
person.”….
The protesters and the organizers have been exceptionally well behaved
and polite. They clean up after every protest, cooperate with the
authorities to make sure the crowds stay in control, and the
organizers always make sure to thank the police officers for their
hard work—with a polite bow and traditional greetings—when the event
is done. ….
Many of the protesters are disgusted and disillusioned with the mainstream Japanese media coverage of the nuclear problem. They credit the success of their movement to social media, word of mouth, and the Internet. And it is true that the mainstream Japanese media, which was the recipient of TEPCO’s annual $400 million worth of advertising, has
been very reluctant to even report on the existence of the protesters until recently.

Hattori says, “The reason we are being taken seriously is not just
because of Twitter or social media anymore. It is thanks to the people
who made the difference by communicating face to face with their
colleagues at work, with the primary-school teachers where they take
their kids to school, with their old high school friends. The people
who passed the information on about our movement by word of mouth made
a big difference.”…
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/08/19/nuclear-power-protests-find-wide-support-in-japan.html

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August 20, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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