Added by Annika L. Krugel on April 15, 2011
Japan’s “Hula Girls”, made famous in the 2006 film of the same name, are once again putting on their grass skirts to help their town from from becoming a nuclear ghost town.
While it may be difficult to sell a spa resort in the seaside getaway of Iwaki, now on the outskirts of the Fukushima nuclear plant exclusion zone, this is just what the girls are planning on doing.
“People now associate Fukushima with people exposed to radiation… I want to get rid of that image, “ said dancer Ayumi Sudo.
One of the veteran dancers, Sudo, 45, told media that evacuees from areas near the nuclear plant are facing discrimination in many places and that it is difficult for cars with Iwaki licence plates to buy petrol at filling stations.
The town is only 50 km south of the the nuclear plant, which has leaked radiation into the sea, air and soil following a devastating earthquake and tsunami on March 11.
While the town of Iwaki itself escaped major damage, it has been closed since last month’s disaster, in most part due to rumours surrounding Fukushima.
The only guests to enjoy the spa in the last month have been disaster evacuees who have been offered free bathing in the spa’s hot pools.