The blog of Tokyo based photographer and photojournalist, Damon Coulter

Feeling Angry

Finally free to go and shoot the protests outside the Prime Minister’s house in Tokyo. These protests have been going on since March this year and growing in size as Prime Minister Noda continues on his policy of restarting Japan’s nuclear power stations.

All Japan’s nuclear generators were shut down for safety checks after the Fukushima disaster in March 2011. Many people in the anti-nuclear lobby would prefer them all to remain off-line.

The protests, that happen every Friday from 6 to 8 in the evening, attract several thousand people and are polite, good natured protests, policed subtly by uniformed cops and the protest’s own organisers. Before the restart of the Oi nuclear powerplant at the beginning of July, the protest swelled to over 100,000 people though and the anger was stronger and less manageable.

Most of the protesters are ordinary people. There are less members of militant union groups or counter-culture weirdness of some recent protests. It is good natured and a safe environment for the old or  young and the disabled to protest. The man on the right of the top picture is blind!

The protesters mostly chant their desire to see both nuclear energy and Prime Minister Noda finished Occasional speeches are made. Guest speakers like the musician Ryuichi Sakamoto or Shii Kazuo, the leader of the Japanese Communist Party (second image) turn up sometimes. Indeed last night I turned round to find myself face to face with Kazuo San as he pushed his way through the crowd to speak. As he left he shook my hand too. Nice man.

Ex Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has turned up also, coat-tailing the protest movement to further his own, selfish political ends.

Anyway got to sort the images for work, just thought I’d share a quick post with you.

More images of this Friday’s anti-nuclear protests in Tokyo at my archive here




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