JAPANESE

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From Asahi Shimbun

Japanese version

'Towards a Nuclear-Free World
    From Japan:
         Thoughts from a Country Hit by Nuclear Bombs - 2012'(7)

Affluence and Danger Exist Side by Side
By Metis, Singer-songwriter

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My grandmother, 81, lives in Hiroshima, and experienced the atomic bombing from a point 800 meters from the hypocenter at age 14. She lost most of her relatives in the blast. My mother passed away from cancer in 2008, and grandmother wonders whether it was because of the war. Indeed, it's not certain whether mother's death was caused by her overwork or the atomic bombing.

I write songs about war and the preciousness of life. In 2007 I wrote a song titled "Aogiri no Ki no Shita de..." ("Under the Chinese Parasol Tree") based on the story of A-bomb survivor Suzuko Numata, who delivered her testimony in Hiroshima for many years. Ms. Numata passed away in July last year.

I don't know what influence the the A-bomb may have had on me as a third-generation survivor, but I want that fear to end with my generation. This thought became stronger following the recent Great East Japan Earthquake.

When I visited Fukushima for a live performance, I heard local people express their fear for possible effects the nuclear accident there would have on their bodies. A world of peace and convenience always exists side by side with danger. It's not something you are always aware of, but the events of 3/11 made me realize it.

I know there are various perspectives regarding nuclear power plants, but I myself don't want to create a future in which people still live side by side with danger regardless of scientific developments.

When I speak to elementary school students, I ask them, "How do you think you would feel if, tomorrow, your fathers, mothers, or friends disappeared in an instant, or your friends were really sad?" I ask them how they would be able to drive out the many horrible demons that rule behind the affluence and peace.

What should we do about nuclear weapons and nuclear power plants? However hard we think, we cannot reach any clear answer. Moreover, the issue seems to have been forgotten, even in Hiroshima. It's never easy to deliver messages to people's hearts. Even so, I want to continue to connect with people and convey my message to them. That's our mission, and our responsibility to future generations.

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Singer-songwriter Metis was born in Hiroshima in 1984, and made her debut in 2006. Her musical style derives from reggae and soul music. Her latest mini album "Meguru Ai no Naka de" ("In a Love that Goes Around"), released on June 27, includes a song she wrote about her mother. Alongside her musical activities, Metis continues to volunteer in the areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake.

(This was compiled through an interview by Sonoko Miyazaki.)