Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sayonara Genpatsu Rally, Yoyogi Park, July 16, 2012

Prime Minister Loach is asked, and not politely either, to not forget the suffering of Fukushima Prefecture.

In the end I was only able to spend around 15 minutes at the rally, capturing a few crowd shots and the beginnings of one of the three marches out of the park. I never got near the main stage.

( Slideshow )

Two items:

- the organizers claimed 170,000 demonstrators at the rally; the police estimate 75,000. I presume the real number was somewhere near the midpoint. I was at the rally -- but only for 15 minutes. The main assembly area is also a major thoroughfare from Shibuya to Yoyogi. Who was attending and who was just transiting?

- Union participation was strong (the above image is of the back of a Tokyo metropolitan railway union man). On the 28th of June Japanese Trade Union Confederation (RENGO) chairman Koga Nobuaki warned at a Liberal Democratic Party of Japan event that the support of his organization may be up for grabs. If the unions are free agents, due the DPJ's backtracking on its social welfare promises and the imposition of a rise in the consumption tax, then the party loses not just a big chunk of its base but much of its on-the-ground organizational strength.

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