Timely and provocative, a dark comedy opens in Tokyo on May 3 over the plight of a remote town hosting a nuclear facility and the consequences 1,000 years from now.
The play, “Tobe! Genshiryoku Robo Mutsu” (Take off! Nuclear robot Mutsu), is being performed by the Watanabe Genshiro Shoten theater company, which is based in Aomori Prefecture, home to many nuclear facilities.
The show generated much audience reaction when it was staged in Aomori, the prefectural capital, in late April.
Seigo Hatasawa, the leader of the troupe who wrote the play, said that he hopes it will spur audiences to ponder nuclear power along with people who live in areas that host nuclear plants and the surrounding communities.
"Tobe! Genshiryoku Robo Mutsu" is set in a fictitious town, called Minami-Mutsu, which has decided to host a disposal site for highly radioactive waste.
The mayor who made the decision will be frozen for 1,000 years and then revived so that he can confirm for himself if the technology that is supposed to render radioactive materials harmless works, as promised. But he finds himself facing a reality he didn't expect when he is roused out of his long slumber.
Hatasawa, 47, said that as a resident of the Tohoku region, he has long felt that residents there have long been discriminated against.
Aomori Prefecture is home to a nuclear plant along with two new plants under construction. Spent nuclear fuel is shipped from nuclear plants across the country to the prefecture, where a nuclear fuel reprocessing plant and an interim storage facility are also situated.
The concentration of nuclear facilities illustrates a lack of regard for people living in remote areas by those residing in major cities, Hatasawa said.
“Even if a nuclear accident occurred, it could be tolerated if it happened in Tohoku,” he said.
The severe accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant last year, he said, prompted him to take a fresh look at the situation in Aomori Prefecture.
Hatasawa said that he is not interested in arguing the pros and cons of nuclear power plants.
“Both sides have a very good reason to stick to their positions,” he said. “Our play depicts justifications presented by each side.”
Hatasawa said it is mind-boggling that it takes spent nuclear fuel about 100,000 years to be rendered harmless to living creatures.
“It is a head-spinning amount of time, just like a joke,” he said.
"Tobe! Genshiryoku Robo Mutsu" is being performed at the Suzunari theater in Tokyo’s Shimokitazawa district through May 6. The theater company also plans to sell a DVD of its performance.
- « Prev
- Next »