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Tokyo antinuke tents forcibly removed

August 21, 2016

Forced removal starts of ‘protest’ tents on ministry grounds





After a five-year protest and court battle, government workers began forcibly taking down three tents erected by anti-nuclear protesters on the grounds of the economy ministry in Tokyo at around 3:30 a.m. on Aug. 21.

A barricade was set up in front of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry as the work began. Security guards were stationed outside of the barricaded area, but there were no major problems.

The tents had long been a source of frustration to the economy ministry as well as a gathering spot for those wanting to end the use of nuclear energy in Japan.

The work followed a Supreme Court rejection of an appeal by the anti-nuclear demonstrators who occupied the tents.

The tents were erected on Sept. 11, 2011, six months after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami triggered a triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. The promotion of nuclear energy is one of the many tasks under the ministry's jurisdiction.

Protesters called for an end to nuclear energy while occupying the tents. The central government initially asked the protesters to leave the ministry grounds because the tents were interfering with ministry work.

When the protesters did not budge, the central government filed a lawsuit in March 2013 asking that the tents be forcibly taken down as well as seeking compensation from the leaders of the protest group.

On July 28, the Supreme Court rejected the group's final appeal, allowing the central government to proceed with the forced removal. It also ordered the group to pay a total of about 38 million yen ($380,000) for using government land as well as a penalty for late payment.



August 21, 2016

Anti-nuke group's tents removed



The Tokyo District Court has removed tents set up by a group of anti-nuclear activists on the premises of the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry in Tokyo.

The ministry oversees the country's nuclear power industry.

The group set up the tents 6 months after the March 2011 nuclear accident in Fukushima as a base for their activities calling for nuclear power to be abolished.

The government filed a suit with the court, asserting that the group was illegally occupying state-owned property.

It demanded that the group remove the tents and pay for the use of the property.

The court approved the government's demands this month.

On early Sunday morning, members of the group were told to leave and police officers kept the area off-limits for about an hour and a half while the tents were completely removed.

The group later staged a rally to call on the ministry to step up measures to phase out nuclear power.

The leader of the group, Taro Fuchikami, says the anti-nuclear movement must continue.

He said the group will continue sit-in protests in front of the ministry building.

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