Antinuclear activists’ tents removed from economy ministry premises


Tokyo District Court officials on Sunday removed tents erected by two antinuclear campaigners and other activists after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis from the premises of the economy ministry, which oversees the nuclear power industry.

The removal of the three tents came after the government asked the court to enforce its order for the tents’ dismantlement.

The court’s order, made in February 2015, was upheld by the Tokyo High Court last October. It became final after the Supreme Court in July turned down an appeal filed by the two antinuclear campaigners.

The three tents were set up in September 2011 on a plot of land of about 50 square meters. They have been used as a base to conduct antinuclear activities outside the ministry in the wake of the triple meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in March 2011, with activists uploading live video footage online, staging a hunger strike and forming human chains.

The forcible removal by the court officials took place in the early hours of Sunday. About 10 citizens including some who were staying in the tents overnight protested while the officials put fences around the encampment and blocked the road around the premises before disassembling the tents.

A 53-year-old company employee who had been staying in one of the tents on Saturdays since the first tent was erected nearly five years ago, said, “The government is pushing through the reactivation of nuclear power plants without taking responsibility (for the Fukushima disaster). We will carry on with our protests.”

The Tokyo District Court in its ruling last year also ordered the activists to pay roughly 21,000 yen ($209) per day in fees for using the land for as long as they remained. The unpaid amount exceeds 30 million yen.

The district court said that while it “understands the campaigners’ compelling motive to join antinuclear activities after the nuclear accident that inflicted severe damage on many people,” they “do not have special rights to use the land” of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in central Tokyo.


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