Nuclear waste refusal successful

ROKKASHO, Japan - Antinuclear activists celebrated a temporary victory Tuesday after blocking a ship loaded with 30 tons of nuclear waste from docking at this northeastern fishing village.

A rare show of defiance by the local governor against the national government had helped win that victory, at least for a day: After waiting for hours a mile from port, the 50,000-ton, Britishregistered Pacific Swan retreated out to sea late Tuesday under coast guard escort.

Both the company running the waste storage complex in Rokkasho, a quiet seaside town 326 miles northeast of Tokyo, and the contractor overseeing the transport of the waste from France gave up temporarily on getting the ship into port.

A handful of demonstrators took turns keeping an overnight vigil at the port gate, singing folk songs on their guitars. Some protesters sipped sake by a fire to ward off the chill.

Outside the gate, 1,000 pairs of discarded shoes were scattered. The shoes, sent by supporters from all over Japan, symbolized what the protesters thought of nuclear power useless.