Inconvenient truths about Tokyo’s antinuke demo

Yesterday, a large anti-nuke demo was held outside the Prime Minister’s office in Japan. I was there to look at what happened.

By Japanese standards it was a large demonstration for sure. There were thousands of people rallying against the restart of the Oi nuclear reactor in Western Japan. In contrast with previous demonstrations I witnessed, I was struck by the number of young people attending the demonstration. They were holding up colorful signs calling for a nuclear energy free Japan.

The announcer reported that their official headcount came up to 45.000 people. A truly unprecedented figure at a demonstration in modern day Japan. But I don’t buy that score for one second.

Were there 10.000 people? Probably, yes.
20.000? Mmh, unlikely.

In a twitter conversation with James Hadfield last night (who was also present at the scene), we figured the total number must be in the 10-15 thousand people range. His report and photo’s can be found here. Police kept the total number at approximately 11 thousand which, surprisingly, fits the idea of James Hadfield as well as yours truly.

Some international media just copied the numbers provided by one of two sides. Only very few correspondents and media were on the scene.

What was remarkable was the fact that hardly any Japanese media showed up. NHK, the main national broadcaster, didn’t send a crew. Neither did I see newspaper reporters. There were only three photographers or so. I saw only one camera crew of Asahi TV.

Ordinary Japanese are meanwhile quite angry (and rightly so, I think) about the fact that this demonstration was so blatantly underreported by the media. Angry responses can be found under this twitterfeed.