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Fukushima 'punks' rage against evacuation

By Kyung Lah, CNN
updated 1:04 AM EST, Thu March 1, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Band's songs directed at Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), operator of Fukushima nuclear plant
  • Each member of the group was affected by the meltdown at the plant that followed March 11 tsunami
  • 78,000 residents have been unable to return to a 12.4-mile (20-km) exclusion zone around plant

Tokyo (CNN) -- You wouldn't know the punk band was Japanese, a culture self-programmed for propriety.

I can't write the chorus (sung in English) of the band's favorite song here, as my editor would first delete the offensive word and then report me to my superiors.

Let's just say it's an obscenity that begins with the letter "F" and rhymes with what hockey players call the vulcanized rubber disk that's hit into the goal.

The four-piece band screams the word over and over again to a Ramones tune, "Rockaway Beach," directed at the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), operator of the crippled Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant.

If you haven't guessed it yet this band -- known as the Scrap -- is angry with TEPCO for a reason. Each member of the group was affected by the meltdown at the plant in northeastern Japan that followed last year's earthquake and tsunami.

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Lead singer and lyrics writer, Nobutaka Takahashi, lived in Namie, just a few miles away from the plant. He was evacuated as the plant leaked radiation across a swath of northern Japan. He is one of the 78,000 residents who have been unable to return to a 12.4-mile (20-km) exclusion zone around the plant, now a nuclear wasteland.

The song is also about loss and sadness, said Takahashi.

"My family far apart, looks up at the same sky, shattered by earthquake and betrayal. There is no such thing as the truth," said Takahashi, sharing the lyrics of the song.

Takahashi lost his home and all of his possessions. He has essentially lost his job because the company he worked with is based inside the evacuation zone.

"I can't go home," he said. "I want to tell people the pain, sadness and isolation I feel because I can't go home."

A year after the disaster, Takahashi's story is one shared by many of the evacuees from the world's worst nuclear disaster in 25 years. Like Takahashi, all are uncertain about whether they will ever return home to their land and possessions. Most continue to seek refuge with friends and extended family members.

During a recent visit to the Fukushima plant, the manager of the disaster spoke to reporters about the possibility of evacuees being allowed home. Takeshi Takahashi, no relation to Nobutaka Takahashi, said the return date remained "uncertain," and that TEPCO would continue to do its best in conjunction with the government to help the residents return.

The plant manager said some residents south of the nuclear plant might be able to return this spring.

Namie, Nobutaka Takahashi's hometown, sits to the north. Namie is one of the more contaminated regions in the evacuation zone. Frustrated by the slow clean-up, Takahashi says singing is his outlet. It's also his reminder to anyone who is willing to listen that the nuclear nightmare continues a year after the reactor buildings exploded.

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