Sit-in protest in Japan reaches 1000th day

In Fukuoka, Japan —

In April 2011, one month after the onset of the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, demonstrators staged a sit-in outside the head office of Kyushu Electric Power Co.

The anti-nuke protesters were still there the next day, and the day after that.

On Jan. 14, the activists marked the 1,000th day of their sit-down protest.

“Humans cannot live side by side with nuclear energy,” said protest organizer Yukinobu Aoyagi. “Never again should lives be threatened and livelihoods deprived.”

…The protesters now gather outside Kyushu Electric’s main office on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with banners that read, “Let’s stop nuclear plants.” Each day, they erect two 2.5-meter-square canopies on a sidewalk to shield themselves from the elements.
The canopies, bought with donations from supporters, have been replaced three times.

In summer months, the sidewalk often becomes baking hot. Some protesters suffered dramatic weight loss from sweating. In winter, oil stoves are not enough to ward off the chill factor from the wind.

… The Nuclear Regulation Authority is expected to complete safety screenings for Kyushu Electric’s Genkai and Sendai nuclear plants this year. The Abe administration plans to have idle reactors up and running once they are deemed safe.

Worried about Aoyagi’s physical condition, some say it may be time to put an end to the campaign. But the activist said he has no intention of calling it quits.

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