Keeping the tents: The anti-nuclear protest at Kasumigaseki

When you are angry with a person its easy to resolve, you can just shout at them, hide halibut under their shoe soles and make snide remarks to fatally undermine their confidence.  These are not nice things to do, but they work.  People usually get the message; then they stop reading your blog, blank you in the street and put a family of badgers under your pillow.     

Anger with a system, a faceless system built on lies, is a bit harder to deal with.  54 nuclear reactors have been built on land as firm as tofu.  54 ticking time bombs waiting for a rattle.  There are not enough halibut in the world to punish all those responsible.     

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Anyway , I am losing my thread, this post is about today`s protest against the planned eviction of the anti-nuclear tents.  It was a well-organised, compact affair, perhaps 1,000 turned up, some from hundreds of miles away.  Plainclothes policeman wearing white face masks lined the edge of the pavement observing the diverse group of protestors, mostly older Japanese patiently standing still with young foreigners marching about amongst them – aren`t foreigners tall?

At first I was totally lost, not knowing how to act, like a 12 year old at a teenage disco.  I wanted something to do, but there were no obvious enemies in sight, no-one to boo or throw seaweed at.  I settled on watching, listening and being part of the crowd.

For almost an hour I stood next to a baby-faced policeman on the pavement; every few seconds he would shout out “clear the way, clear the way”. hurrying pedestrians through the crowd.  Like all the other policeman, he wore white cotton gloves.  I wondered if his hands were as cold as mine. 

A 15-year-old protestor wearing a dark suit handed out free kairo (heat pads).  They were gratefully received.  A lady gave me a lantern to hold.  Unable to figure out how to grip it properly, I nearly started a fire before thankfully the wind blew it out.    

The two-hour protest was filled with short speeches, songs and clenched-fist chants  – ko-do-mo  ma-mo-ro (protect the children) aimed at the drab concrete METI building behind.  The lights were on but we could no reaction inside, the building blanked us. 

Most inspiring were the mothers from Fukushima: they spoke passionately and convincingly, suffering the most and fighting back the hardest.  Japanese women are worth listening to.  The bloke-heavy government should take heed – or they won`t get any tea.

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