DHAKA: Thousands of people staged a rally in front of the Japanese prime minister`s office Friday, maintaining anti-nuclear sentiment triggered by last year`s atomic crisis at Fukushima.
It was the latest in a string of protests in Japan, which has seen a rising tide of anti-nuclear momentum since Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda in June ordered the restart of two reactors.
Noda defended the move citing looming power shortages after Japan switched off its 50 nuclear reactors -- which provided the resource-poor country with a third of its energy -- in the wake of the Fukushima disaster.
Weekly demonstrations outside the prime minister`s residence have drawn thousands of people and a rally in west Tokyo last month saw a crowd that organisers claimed was about 170,000-strong.
"I`m moved by the fact that people voluntarily take action against what can affect our lives," Ryuichi Sakamoto, a musician and composer, told the rally estimated at more than 3,000.
"And I`m coming here as one of you. Let`s keep expressing our voice," Sakamoto added.
Noda, reversing his earlier stance, said Friday he was ready to meet representatives of the demonstrators, saying: "I`m arranging the schedule. It will come true not so far from now."
BDST: 0848 HRS, AUG 4, 2012
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