Sakamoto Ryuichi (60, photo left) is the latest high-profile celebrity to take up the cause of ridding Japan of nuclear power. The Yellow Magic Orchestra veteran and Academy Award winner announced yesterday that he would be participating in the No Nukes 2012 music festival at Makuhari Messe conference center in Chiba Prefecture on July 7-8. So far the event lineup has 18 artists including YMO, Asian Kung-Fu Generation, Brahman, and singer-songwriters Hajime Chitose and Saito Kazuyoshi. All profits from the event will go to an organization that aims to collect 10 million signatures to the “Sayonara Genpatsu” petition to end nuclear power in Japan. Currently only one of over 50 nuclear plants is in operation, though the government wants to restart many of them after maintenance and safety checks.
Sakamoto has attended many meetings and events since the natural disasters of March 11, 2012 led to the nuclear nightmare situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Almost 80% of respondents to a recent Tokyo Shimbun poll said they were in favor of or leaned toward the country ending its reliance on nuclear power.
Speaking at a press conference in Tokyo along with Asian Kung-Fu Generation member Goto Masafumi (35, photo right) yesterday Sakamoto said, “I hope we can use music to get people to think and care about the issues. We want to express our feelings about not just nuclear power but also nuclear weapons.”