Japan’s fishermen: ‘We’re dying’

TOKYO, Japan (CNN) — Two hundred thousand boats sat idle in
Japan, as fishermen across the nation took to the streets on Tuesday to
protest skyrocketing fuel prices.

Fishermen rallied in Tokyo on Tuesday against skyrocketing fuel prices.

The strike — the first ever by the country’s fishermen — hopes to
convince the government that without its intervention, rising fuel costs
will kill the fishermen’s businesses.

Across Japan’s fishing ports, fishermen simultaneously blew their whistles in a symbol of solidarity, and operations ground to a halt.

Thousands of others rallied in downtown Tokyo, marching in circles around the fisheries ministry and chanting, “We’re dying,” through bullhorns.

The protesting fishing unions say fuel once accounted for 10 percent of a business’ operating cost. It now accounts for 30 to 50 percent. Video Watch the unions protest in the streets »

They want the government to provide subsidies to make up for the price hike.

The demonstration was the latest in a wave of protests around the world over fuel prices.

Masatoshi Wakabayashi, the minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, told reporters Tuesday morning that he “understands the frustration of the fishermen.”

He urged reforms within the fishing industry to decrease its reliance on oil, adding it would be “difficult to compensate them for the hike in the price of oil.”

The deep-sea tuna fishermen’s association told CNN it might suspend operations for two to three months later this year, due to fuel price hike.

Marine life has long been a staple food source in Japan.

Last week, nearly 400 taxis brought traffic to a halt in Berlin, Germany, as drivers drove through the city in a protest over high fuel prices.

Truckers in Vienna, Austria, also staged a protest last week.

And earlier this month, hundreds of British truckers drove past Parliament to voice their anger about the high cost of fuel.

India, France, Spain and South Korea have had similar protests.

To the source

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