They can't sing 'Furusato'
Hiroshi Monma, who had evacuated to Kanno's home, is a retired high school teacher. His involvement in the anti-nuclear power movement began 40 years earlier when the Fukushima No. 1 plant was built.
The movement began when three residents gathered at the public housing complex in the town of Naraha where he lived at the time. They repeatedly argued against the dangers with the prefectural governor, the town mayor and others. For several years they had held talks with Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) once a month, and another discussion had been scheduled for March 22.
Monma, joined a group of 404 that brought a lawsuit against the nearby Fukushima No. 2 nuclear power plant, but the group lost. He still clearly remembers the words spoken at that time by the presiding judge of the Sendai High Court.
"You need to stop your constant protests and calmly consider the matter, because nuclear power generation cannot be halted."
That was 21 years ago. The illusion that nuclear power plants are safe has been abruptly shattered.
"TEPCO's presumptions were naive. How much harm has been done to all these people because of that? How do they plan on taking responsibility for it?"
Yet, there is a similar unease with the notion of the Namie town government calling this accident "an act of murder" and railing against the nation and TEPCO.
There is a plan to build a nuclear power plant in Namie. The plan was initially proposed by Tohoku Electric Power Co. 40 years ago in response to the town assembly, which had tried to lure one.
Last year during a gathering of the neighborhood association, a town assembly member looked at Monma and said, "The nuclear power plant will create a bright future for Namie, although you might be against this."
When they temporarily returned to their house in July, they took a radioactive reading. Near their home, it was 4 microsieverts per hour.
There is a large persimmon tree in the field, which was planted when their oldest daughter was born. In some years, it produced more than 300 persimmons.
"We can no longer eat the fruit. It's contaminated now."
About 30 years ago, they borrowed a town gymnasium and asked a theatrical troupe from Tokyo to perform a play about an accidental radioactive leak. The story was about the residents trying to escape after a nuclear accident. That story became reality, and the couple has been forced to settle into a housing complex in Tokyo's Kita Ward.
The 135,000-yen ($1,740) rent is expensive, but they decided to live there since it is close to their daughter's home. They are paying the rent with the temporary payment of 1 million yen they received from TEPCO.
Hiroshi has been fond of singing in a chorus since living in Fukushima. He discovered a choir event in July in Kita Ward and joined it with his wife.
They sang the well-known song "Furusato" (My hometown). "The mountain where I chased rabbits …" Hiroshi and Shoko, overwhelmed, could not finish the song.