More than 100,000 anti-nuclear protesters marched through central Tokyo on Monday to voice their opposition to atomic power, racheting up the pressure on under fire Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda.
On the hottest day of the year, protesters forsook their air-conditioned homes to say the country does not need nuclear energy after last year’s Fukushima disaster raised concerns about the safety of atomic power.
It was the biggest demonstration since Noda said last month Japan needed to restart reactors shut down for safety checks to avoid electricity shortages that might hit the economy.
"Today temperatures reached record high levels," Noda told Japanese television, as the city sweltered in 36.6-degree Celsius. "We must ask ourselves whether we can really make do without nuclear power."
U.S. President Barack Obama vowed on Monday to pursue further nuclear arms cuts with Russia, urged China to follow suit and issued stern warnings to North Korea and Iran in their nuclear standoffs with the West.
Acknowledging the United States has more warheads than necessary, Obama held out the prospect of new reductions in the U.S. arsenal as he sought to rally world leaders for additional concrete steps against the threat of nuclear terrorism.
"We can already say with confidence that we have more nuclear weapons than we need," Obama told students at South Korea’s Hankuk University a few hours before a global nuclear security summit opened in Seoul.
Read more: Obama vows more nuclear cuts with Russia
New poll shows Americans favor diplomacy over war with Iran
- 69% of Americans prefer a diplomatic approach instead of an Israeli attack on Iran, according to a new poll from the University of Maryland
- 38% of Republicans polled favor military action by the Israeli government, a percentage likely to surprise experts and policymakers
- 17% of Democrats and independents polled agreed with their Republican counterparts, preferring military action over diplomacy source
A majority of Americans would support military action against Iran if there were evidence that Tehran is building nuclear weapons, even if such action led to higher gasoline prices, a Reuters/Ipsos polled showed on Tuesday.
The poll showed 62 percent of Americans would back Israel taking military action against Iran for the same reasons.
U.S. President Barack Obama has said all options are on the table in dealing with Iran’s nuclear program.
Iran says its nuclear program is peaceful.