‘Housewives’ educating children on energy linked to TEPCO PR firm / 原発教育:「主婦中心」の人形劇団 団員全員、東電と関連


‘Housewives’ educating children on energy linked to TEPCO PR firm
A puppet theater troupe advertising itself on its website as “started by a group of housewives concerned about energy” was in fact founded by staff from Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO)’s PR firm, the Mainichi has learned.

According to the website of the puppet theater troupe in question — Kappa no Kawataro Ichiza — in 2000 a group of housewives set up an online “energy club” to exchange their views on energy after taking their “children to visit a nuclear power plant and discovering the great efforts being taken to supply energy to private households.”

The puppet troupe was launched after club members decided they “wanted to pass on the importance of energy to (their) children,” the website continues. In 2002, the troupe was certified as the Japan Industrial Location Center (JILC)’s “energy theater caravan nonprofit organization project.”

According to a leading member of the group, however, all five members of the troupe belong to a research firm doing publicity work for TEPCO. Their PR work involves holding parties at their homes for fellow housewives and informing participants of the necessity of nuclear power. One troupe member threw approximately 300 such parties at her home.

Upon hearing from participants at the parties that they wanted their children to learn the same information, the group responded to a JILC call for theater troupes to educate young children about energy. Group members said they made a presentation at the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy — which commissioned the JILC competition — before the public competition, and were promised assistance on the spot. The members did not explain, however, whether they went to the agency on their own initiative or were encouraged by another party to do so.

One puppet show plot entails “kappa,” a creature from Japanese folklore, receiving a letter from a polar bear asking for help. The kappa set out to find that melting ice has separated a baby polar bear from its mother. While the mother and cub are reunited, the kappa are dumbfounded to hear about global warming. Another of the group’s shows features a trip to the Edo period (1603-1868) in a time machine to get a glimpse of life without electricity and an understanding of how convenient life has become because of it.

Through 2005, the troupe received up to 2.5 million yen a year in assistance as part of the agency and JILC program, performing at schools in areas hosting nuclear power stations, and at events in the Tokyo metropolitan area. Each member received 7,000 yen per performance. After financial assistance subsequently plummeted to 600,000 yen per year, however, the group chose to cut off its affiliation with the project. Since the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, the troupe has performed for children at the request of the Atomuseum in Niigata Prefecture.

The members admit to some feelings of discomfort with their dealings with TEPCO PR officials.

“TEPCO employees sometimes come to our parties for training, but they say they want us to keep their presence a secret form the people we’ve invited,” one member said. “There are things (TEPCO) won’t tell even us.” (Shusaku Sugimoto, Mainichi Shimbun Newsapaper)

 原発教育:「主婦中心」の人形劇団 団員全員、東電と関連  (毎日新聞 2013年03月25日)

「エネルギーに興味のある主婦を中心に活動を始めた」とホームページ(HP)で自己紹介している人形劇団が、実際には東京電力から広報事業を受注す る会社の元女性従業員らにより設立されていた。劇団幹部は毎日新聞の取材に対し、HPの記載に虚偽があると認めた上で、スタッフには1公演当たり各 7000円払っていたなどの実態を明かした。

この劇団は「カッパの河太郎一座」。HPなどによると「夏休みに子供に社会体験させようと原発を見学 し、親子ともども、エネルギーを作って家庭に届くまでに大変な努力をされていることに気づかされた」として00年、エネルギーに興味のある主婦を中心にイ ンターネット上で「エネルギー倶楽部」を開き、意見交換を主に活動を始めたとしている。



あるメンバーは自宅などで約300回パーティーを開催。そうした中で「子供にもこういう話を聞かせた い」との声があり、日本立地センターの公募事業(発注元は経済産業省資源エネルギー庁で、「次世代層<未就学児・小学生>向けエネルギー劇キャラバン事 業」)に応募したところ採用された。公募前にはエネ庁でプレゼンテーションし、その場で支援を約束されたという。エネ庁に自分たちの意思で行ったのか、誰 かに勧められたのかは説明しなかった。

人形劇は、シロクマの母親からカッパたちに「SOS」の手紙が届き、現地に向かうと氷が解けて子グマと 離れ離れになっていたため助けるものの、地球温暖化の話を知りカッパたちが驚く、といった内容。また、電気がない生活を知るためタイムマシンで江戸時代に 行き、電気の便利さや大切さを知るなどの設定になっている。

エネ庁と立地センターの支援事業では05年まで最大で年間250万円を受領し、原発立地地域の学校や首都圏のイベント会場などで公演。スタッフには 1人当たり1公演7000円の給料を支払っていた。その後、支援額は年間60万円に激減し、使途も制限されて自分たちのギャラに使えなくなったため支援事 業への応募は取りやめた。東日本大震災後は公益財団法人「柏崎原子力広報センター」(新潟県)の依頼で、現地の子供などに劇を披露しているという。

そんなメンバーも、東電の広報担当者に違和感を感じると話す。「私たちのパーティーに時々、東電の方が 研修に来るんですけど、来ることを(集めた主婦に)内緒にしてほしいと言うんですよ」。東電社員であることを隠して見学しなければならない「広報事業」。 メンバーの一人は「私たちにも(東電が)伝えないことがあるんですよね」と不信感を表した。【杉本修作】


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