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Ahead of Fukushima anniversary, thousands protest Japan's nuclear power policies

Thousands gathered on Sunday (March 9) two days before the third anniversary of Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami as former Prime Minister Naoto Kan criticized the ruling party's stance on nuclear power. Kan, who was the Japan premier during the March 11, 2011 nuclear catastrophe, has openly declared the need for Japan to end its reliance on atomic power and promote renewable sources of energy such as solar power that have long taken a back seat in the resource-poor country's energy mix. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is keen to restart Japan's idled nuclear reactors to cut the cost of fossil fuel imports used by power stations, which have swelled the trade deficit to a record and driven up electricity prices. After the huge earthquake and tsunami struck, three reactors at the Fukushima plant suffered meltdowns and radiation spewed widely through eastern Japan, contaminating water and crops and forcing tens of thousands of residents to evacuate. The governme

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