The Sacrificial Light – Wakasa’s Tears 6: The dancing village (From The Chunichi, a local newspaper in Nagoya)

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wakasa 6

    “As long as you have this thing called nuclear power plant, you belong to a big family who lives under the control of it.” (“Kokyo (Hometown)” Tsutomu Mizukami)

     The mirrors occupying the wall reflect children’s emotions prosaically: happy smiles when they succeed, chagrined faces when they fail, and sometimes sulky eyes. This is a dancing school held on Sundays. It is located on the third floor of a multiple-tenant building in Obama, Fukui Prefecture.

     “Children are great. They absorb anything,” said Kiyoto Takada, 29, the instructor. He works there for a very low amount of money because he is happy to see the development of children. Kiyoto’s day job is a worker at the nuclear power plant in Ohi next to Obama. He joined a local company which maintains intake pumps at the powerhouse four years ago.

     He was born and raised in Obama. After graduating from the junior high school, he became an apprentice cook in Osaka, but he quit it soon and hoboed. He could not keep at any jobs for long. But he likes his present job because he takes pride in his work which supports the energy of Japan, and “the income is good and it’s stable.” He bought a ring equivalent to his two months salaries at a department store in Kyoto for his girlfriend one year after he began working at the company. The nuclear power plant brought him a secure feeling: “I can live in my home forever.”

     Kiyoto is not only the person who has a sense of security in the village. Two of his friends, who have known him since they were children and are his fellow dancers, also work for the nuclear plant. Kiyoto and his friends often booze up at the beach, where they enjoy talking about old times. “We might be separated if we didn’t have the power station.”

     He could not believe his eyes while watching TV news that day when Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Plant exploded. “What if the same thing happens?” Ohi Nuclear Power Plant is located on the sea. Fear of tsunami went through his mind, but disappeared soon. The accident was something far away for him.

     “No Nuke!” After the disaster, the public mind went to the antinuclear power movement, and all of the nuclear power stations in Japan stopped working in May last year. Since then Kiyoto sometimes worked at a thermal power generation instead of the nuclear power station. He became anxious. “What will happen in the future?” That was why he was relieved when the government decided to restart Ohi Nuclear Power Station one month later the suspension.

     “No Resumption!” Anti-nuke people were shouting at the gate of the power station that day when Ohi No.3 and No.4 Reactors resumed. But there were no local people who Kiyoto knew in the group. “They’re just outsiders.” Kiyoto thought that when he was heading for the station by car through those protesting people.

     “We need nuclear power stations.” Because he believes that, he feels anxiety about the existence. He noticed by the accident in Fukushima that there was no guaranty of the nuclear power plants’ permanent continuation. Most of the villagers would have to let go of their rich lives if they lost the nuclear power station. How would the village be after the children grow up? Kiyoto thinks about his village’s future when he sees those dancing kids. He is now holding back fear in loud music.

(The Chunichi June 2, 2013, translated by Moshimoshimo)

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