The Iwaishima People’s Association holds an anti-nuclear demonstration every Monday afternoon which reached a total of 1,100 times on June 20, 2011.
Our slogans are simple. “We oppose a nuclear power plant.” “Let’s protect clean ocean.” “Let’s protect our hometown.”
Iwaishima’s demonstrators are 80% women, as the demonstration was originally started by the Iwaishima women.
When the nuclear power plant issue arose at the end in 1982, about 20 fishermen’s wives walked around saying “We are opposed to nuclear power plant.” and “We don’t want a nuclear power plant.” They were told by a policeman to stop it.
They asked “Why can’t we walk around saying we oppose a nuclear power plant?” They were told that would mean a demonstration, and they would have to request a permission. They said, “Fine, then let’s get a permission to do a demonstration.” This is how the Iwaishima demonstration began.
The flag held by a person walking at the head of the procession, stating “We oppose a nuclear power plant (原発反対)” is the one that has been used from the very beginning.
Initially there were a lot of issues: the police would not readily process the request, and the person who went to the police station on the mainland Honshu would waste a whole day of work.
Recently, there are different issues such as a change of demonstration route due to the aging of the participants and cancellation due to bad weather, but we were able to continue it as sort of a weekly town meeting.
Women chitchat between chanting slogans.
Certainly 1,100 is a big number, but it’s nothing to be happy about.
It represents the scale of torment suffered by the Iwaishima people who had to continue to express their intention to oppose a nuclear power plant and also of the indignation towards the movement to build a nuclear power plant without understanding their feelings.
Strength of the Iwaishima women who were able to keep laughing as they marched on despite such hardships is one of the reasons Iwaishima has been able to continue to oppose a nuclear power plant for nearly 30 years.