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Anti-nuclear movement growing in Asia

Though nuclear power still has a strong foothold in Asia, anti-nuclear sentiment and protest are growing from Mongolia to South Korea to Taiwan and even - in modest ways - in China.

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Protesters holding anti-nuclear banners listen to another group of protesters shouting slogans near an area a citizens' group has set up tents to protest against the use of nuclear power on the premises of the Japan's Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry in Tokyo Friday.

Hiro Komae/AP

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Heonseok Lee has a simple way of describing how public sentiment toward nuclear power has changed in South Korea since the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant last March 11.

“Before 3/11, I’d post an article criticizing the nuclear power industry, and right away there’d be hundreds of really nasty comments. After 3/11, there’ll still be a few dozen. But not hundreds,” says Lee, a full-time anti-nuclear activist in one of the world’s most pro-nuclear countries.

Though nuclear power still has a strong foothold throughout the region, and public opinion is mixed, activists across Asia have anecdotes like this to show that anti-nuclear sentiment and protest are slowly growing from Mongolia, to South Korea to Taiwan and even - in modest ways - to China.

This month, activists from Japan and South Korea announced plans for a new East Asian civil society network to promote renewable energy and oppose nuclear power.

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