Saturday, May 3, 2014

Japanese anti-nuclear protests in Tokyo ('anti' means 'against')


There has been a debate in the USA, since 1945, as to whether two atomic bombs should have been dropped on Japanese cities at the end of World War II.  The two cities chosen were not military targets and hundreds of thousands of elderly people, as well as women and children, were killed.

Indeed, many people believe that the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was an act of anti-Asian racism.  (Racism is a hatred of a group of people because of their skin color.)

The Japanese people have always been in the forefront of protests against nuclear weapons due to the fact that the only two nuclear weapons ever used in war were used against them. After the Fukushima nuclear powerplant disaster of 2011, many Japanese people began protesting the use of nuclear power.

Indeed, about one year after the Fukushima disaster, large groups of people began regular protests outside of the Japanese Prime Minister's office in Tokyo each Friday night.  Here is an article about the 100th consecutive protest.

The article:

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201405040013

Vocabulary to help you understand the article:

to protest, to demonstrate - basically these words mean the same thing.  If a group of people protests something, they gather together to express their disagreement with a policy or action.

a rally - a rally is similar to a protest but tends to be more 'positive.'  At a rally there might be speakers or performers and information will be shared instead of just expressing anger.

dwindling - dropping, decreasing

a fixture - something that is always there

to mobilize - if you want to mobilize a group, you want to get them to become more active and more involved

the silent majority - most people are against nuclear weapons and power, but they don't say anything

to sustain - to keep it going

a beacon - this is a large tower from which a light source can be seen.  

to hoist - to lift

to chant - to repeat over and over again

resumption - beginning again

screenings - checking to see whether everything is ok and can be restarted

decommissioned - inactive, not in service

ill legacy - a legacy is something that is given by one person to a person of the next generation; an ill legacy means handing over something bad to the next generation

unfolded - developed

a heyday - the most popular time

desensitized - no longer aware, no longer sensitive to

emitting - giving off

contaminated - polluted

opposition - to be against something

spurred - encouraged, caused

to stage a protest - to have a protest

a morale booster - morale and moral are different words.  To be moral means to be good and it is an adjective.  Morale is a noun and it means to feel good or bad about something.  For instance, if the players on a sports team have good morale, they are happy and enthusiastic.  If they suffer from bad morale, they feel discouraged and unhappy.  The morale at a company can be good or bad. A boost is an increase.  So if something is a morale booster, it makes people feel better and more optimistic.

abolishment - getting rid of, eliminating

from surfacing - from becoming known or apparent

clouded - covered

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