Japan's Fukushima prefecture has opened its first beach to swimmers since last year's tsunami and nuclear disaster after judging the water to be safe.
About 1,000 people have descended on Nakoso beach, about 65 kilometers south of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, where three reactors melted down after the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami.
The opening was celebrated with beach volleyball games and hula dancers from a nearby spa.
Iwaki city official Joji Kimura says negligible radiation was detected in water at the beach. Airborne radiation was measured at 0.08 microsieverts per hour, far below dangerous levels.
Swimming had been banned at all beaches in Fukushima prefecture (state) since last March's disaster.
In Tokyo, tens of thousands of people rallied at a Tokyo park demanding that Japan abandon nuclear power.
Led by Nobel-winning novelist Kenzaburo Oe, pop star Ryuichi Sakamoto and visual artist Yoshitomo Nara, the protesters expressed outrage over a report that blamed the Fukushima disaster on Japan's culture of "reflexive obedience" and held no individuals responsible.
Japan ordered all its nuclear power plants shut down for safety inspections last year.
- AP and Reuters