More than 100,000 protest nuclear power in Tokyo

Nuclear power had previously supplied nearly 30 percent of Japan’s electricity

More than 100,000 anti-nuclear protesters marched through central Tokyo on Monday to voice their opposition to atomic power, racheting up the pressure on under-fire Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, according to Aaron Sheldrick of Reuters.

“On the hottest day of the year, protesters forsook their air-conditioned homes to say the country does not need nuclear energy after last year’s Fukushima disaster raised concerns about the safety of atomic power.

“It was the biggest demonstration since Noda said last month Japanneeded to restart reactors shut down for safety checks to avoid electricity shortages that might hit the economy.

“‘Today temperatures reached record high levels,’ Noda told Japanese television, as the city sweltered in 36.6-degree Celsius. ‘We must ask ourselves whether we can really make do without nuclear power.’

“Noda has come under increasing pressure amid growing public distrust of nuclear power, and hisDemocratic Party of Japan party was hit last month by mass defections after he pushed through an unpopular sales tax increase.

“Noda’s Democrats still control a majority in the lower house of parliament, but are outnumbered by the opposition in the upper house. Many analysts say mid-term elections could be called.

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