TOKYO (AP) - Thousands of Japanese marched to celebrate the switching off of the last of their nation's 50 nuclear reactors Saturday, waving banners shaped as giant fish that have become a potent anti-nuclear symbol.
The reactor at Tomari nuclear plant on the northern island of Hokkaido went offline for mandatory routine maintenance. After last year's March 11 quake and tsunami set off meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-ich plant, no reactor halted for checkups has been restarted amid public worries about the safety of nuclear technology.
"Today is a historic day," Masashi Ishikawa shouted to a crowd gathered at a Tokyo park some holding traditional "koinobori" carp-shaped banners for Children's Day that have become a symbol of the anti-nuclear movement, "There are so many nuclear plants, but not a single one will be up and running today, and that's because of our efforts," Ishikawa said.
The activists said it is fitting that the day Japan stopped nuclear power coincides with Children's Day because of their concerns about protecting children from radiation, which Fukushima Dai-ichi is stil spewing into the air and water.