USA Today reports that as many as 200,000 Japanese rallied against re-starting more nuclear power plants.
Led by Nobel-winning novelist Kenzaburo Oe, pop star Ryuichi Sakamoto and visual artist Yoshitomo Nara, the protesters expressed outrage over a report that blamed the Fukushima disaster on Japan’s culture of “reflexive obedience” and held no individuals responsible.
Japanese officials say that the needs of Japan’s economy require bringing more nuclear plants back online. Protesters want a phase-out of nuclear power. They also want accountability for the human role in the Fukushima disaster…
The demonstrators also said they were offended by a parliamentary investigation that blamed Japanese culture for the Fukushima disaster.
The report, released earlier this month, said, “Its fundamental causes are to be found in the ingrained conventions of Japanese culture — our reflexive obedience, our reluctance to question authority, our devotion to ‘sticking with the program,’ our groupism and our insularity.”
Midori Tanaka, a schoolteacher marching at the park, said the right people should face up to their mistakes.
“Things can never change if we blame culture. We need to get to the bottom of this,” she said.
Oe said blaming culture was a cop-out, adding that individuals — including the president of Tokyo Electric Power Co., the utility that operates Fukushima Dai-ichi — should be held responsible.
Imagine if it were harder for individuals to hide behind corporations. Is Japanese culture the problem, or is it the undermining of democracy by big money?
In the days after the tsunami, there was no immediate risk to the established powers. The Japanese people came together for rescue and relief. Now with the passing of time, the Japanese people are demanding to know why corruption and negligence went so far without people being named and held accountable.