Many of these had been exchange students abroad. This mirrors the trend witnessed among the main actors, many having a connection with a foreign country. One of the interviewees (26-year-old university student, interviewed ) had seen the news about the antinuclear movement in Japan while on exchange in Germany. Another (26-year-old university student, interviewed ) had studied journalism as an exchange student in Denmark.
Interviewees expressed different motivations for participating in the protests. A 41-year-old marriage counselor said that she had decided to take part because many of her clients were worried about getting married or having children due to fears surrounding the after-effects of radiation. An 18-year-old high school student (interviewed ) expressed concern about radiation because her mother was a childcare worker who was deeply concerned about environmental issues. A 22-year-old university student (interviewed ), told the Tokyo Shimbun reporter, “I didn’t think that much about it, I was just curious about whether there really were so many people there.”
First, there are a number of very active “core members” but none who draw a wage from their activism
The most common reason participants gave for joining the protests was having come from Fukushima or having had direct contact with someone from Fukushima. One interviewee (22-year-old university student, interviewed ) went to Fukushima University and spoke with New Mexico installment loans locations students there. Another (28-year-old university student, interviewed e because some people from Iitate [a village in Fukushima prefecture that was completely evacuated] told me about what had happened to them.” A total of six people said they had decided to take part in the protests because they had a direct connection to Fukushima. They had either heard from someone from Fukushima about what had happened, had a friend who had evacuated from Fukushima or had relatives or friends in Fukushima. More than ten percent of the 53 people interviewed reported such a connection. Among the activists analyzed in the previous section, two respondents also had relatives in Fukushima.
A 65-year-old self-employed man (interviewed ent that is used to clean nuclear facilities, you see. Once its been used, we cut it into pieces and store it in boxes. But there’s just nowhere to dispose of them. That’s why I started to think that nuclear power is no good.” 18 Considering the nuclear industry’s wide reach, probably many people have such a connection.
Some participants said they had started worrying about nuclear power because of their work and became motivated to take part in the protests
How was the movement organized? In this section I will analyze this question in terms of both organizational forms and methods of mobilization.
MCAN, the group that organized the protests outside the prime minister’s residence, was an alliance of 13 smaller groups who were later joined by a number of “other sympathetic individuals”. 19 Of the original 13 groups, only two were active prior to the nuclear accident and only one had a physical office. During my participant observation I observed that small groups such as this, which lack a physical office, have a number of characteristics. Surrounding these core members are some tens of peripheral members who serve as “event marshals” when the group holds an action. No clear line separates the core from the periphery. Most of the activists involved in these small groups were not active in the antinuclear movement prior to the Fukushima accident. About a third became active in a social movement for the first time after the disaster and another third had participated in some other movement prior to the accident. The final third had some experience with activities in the grey area between social activism and cultural production.