Shareholders join demonstrators to demand TEPCO close nuclear plants
By Kyoko Hasegawa, AFP
June 27, 2014, 12:00 am TWN
TOKYO -- Furious shareholders of the company that runs Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear power station joined campaigners Thursday to demand the permanent closure of the utility's atomic plants as it held its annual meeting.
Dozens of demonstrators with loud speakers and banners said Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), which wants to restart some of the reactors at the world's largest nuclear plant, amongst others, must act to not repeat the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi disaster.
There was pushing and shoving between security guards and demonstrators as they tried to approach shareholders going into the gathering.
Activists from conservation group Greenpeace wore full protective suits and industrial face masks to remind shareholders what families who lived near Fukushima — where three reactors went into meltdown after an earthquake-sparked tsunami — must wear to check on their homes.
Katsutaka Idogawa, former mayor of Futaba town, which hosts the plant, lashed out at supporters of nuclear power, including TEPCO's management, urging them to put their own ancestral land at risk.
“Why don't you get exposed to radiation yourself? Why don't you lose your homeland?” he asked as shareholders filed into Tokyo International Forum for the company's annual meeting.
His town remains evacuated because of elevated levels of radiation, amid expectations that it will be decades before it is safe to return, if ever.
Idogawa, who bought TEPCO shares last year, said the firm has been slow to offer compensation to those who lost homes, jobs, farms and their communities, and that which has been offered has been inadequate.