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The Fourth Red Cross Nuclear Disaster Seminar Report

2016/04/07

Fourth Red Cross Nuclear Disaster Seminar

PrologueSupport for childrenHealth consultation program for NamieBeyond “We will not forget”Workshop

Prologue
Support for children
Health consultation program for Namie
Beyond “We will not forget”
Workshop

Outline of the Seminar


March 2016 marked the 5th anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami and the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident. In regards to that, the Fourth Red Cross Nuclear Disaster Seminar was held as part of the “Forever remembered” project by the Japanese Red Cross Society (JRCS). During the seminar, the participants explored “What can we do towards the future?” through presentations and a workshop by learning about the status of Fukushima and then looking into what each of the participants should do for disaster preparedness for themselves.

  • Date: Saturday, March 19, 2016; 12:50-17:30
  • Venue: Main Conference Room of the Annex, JRCS
  • No. of participants: 35; No. of observers: 15.

Content of the Seminar


 Part 1: Presentations

Part 1: Presentations

Prologue: “What I would like to think about with you today.
  - What is happening in Fukushima now? -”
Prologue:

“What I would like to think about with you today.
- What is happening in Fukushima now? -”

Prof. Kazuhiko Amano
Visiting associate professor, Fukushima Future Center for Regional Revitalization, Fukushima University

Prof. Amano received a master’s degree from the School of Public Policy and Regional Administration, Fukushima University. As an officer of the Fukushima Prefectural Office, he engaged in education for children with disabilities, life-long education and gender equality programs. Soon after the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami occurred on March 11, 2011, he was appointed as a responsible officer for running the largest evacuation center in Fukushima Prefecture set up at “Big Palette Fukushima”. As Director of Tomioka “Odagaisama” Center for Supporting Reconstruction of Victims' Living (until March 2014), he also supported the affected people who were living in temporary housing or private rental houses, or who had fled to other prefectures. In April 2012, he was appointed as an associate professor of Fukushima Future Center for Regional Revitalization, Fukushima University. Since April 2015, he has served as a producer of “Minpuku” Net (a network to assist the people affected by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami) for assisting recovery from the disaster. Since May 2015, he has been a visiting associate professor of Fukushima Future Center for Regional Revitalization, Fukushima University and involved in surveys and studies about support for the affected people’s livelihoods, community forming, support of people requiring assistance, collaboration between volunteer groups and the earthquake-related deaths. He has also helped various activities in the field.

In the prologue part, Prof. Amano of Fukushima University gave a presentation entitled “What I would like to think about with you today.”

Presentation summary:
In Fukushima Prefecture, the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident still affects the people’s lifestyles. There is no outlook for returning to the areas currently designated as difficult-to-return areas. The affected people cannot have a perspective for their future lifestyles. The situation has not changed even five years after the nuclear disaster.

Due to the prolonged evacuation, some people did not have a hope for their future and committed suicide. Some people died from deterioration of their chronic diseases that they had suffered from before the earthquake. These deaths are called “earthquake-related deaths” and outweigh the number of earthquake-direct deaths. As of January 14, 2016, as many as 43,270 Fukushima citizens are still evacuated to outside Fukushima Prefecture. This number of citizens who are still evacuated to other prefectures is much higher than that of the other two affected prefectures, Iwate and Miyagi (1,474 and 6,444 respectively). Furthermore, some communities were disrupted because of the repeated evacuations.

In the affected areas, provision of places for “communication” and activities that can promote “autonomy” would be a horizontal thread in forming a community. And provision of activities to protect the people’s lives and to create motivation and place where they feel comfortable would be a vertical thread. The people’s abilities to connect with each other need to be woven by twisting these threads to create new communities for protecting their lives.

Disrupted communities dispersed local people. They felt lonely and this caused deaths. This phenomenon is not happening only in Fukushima. It happens nationwide. This phenomenon only became apparent in Fukushima due to the disaster. I strongly feel the need for creating a system across Japan which can connect people.

Presentation 1: “What has emerged through activities supporting the
  affected children - For better educational support -”
Presentation 1:

“What has emerged through activities supporting the affected children - For better educational support -”

Prof. Tamaki Honda
Project Professor, Child and Youth Support Group of the Fukushima Future Center for Regional Revitalization, Fukushima University

Prof. Honda was born in Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture. She graduated from Miyagi University of Education, and received a master’s degree from a graduate school for education of Fukushima University while working as an elementary school teacher in Fukushima Prefecture. While working at an elementary school attached to Fukushima University, she opened a room at the elementary school to support children in a small number, which was called a “hotto room”, a counseling room for children where they could feel “hotto” (at ease). There she provided support for children and parents who had a “sense of trouble” to help them to solve problems. At the Fukushima Future Center for Regional Revitalization, she is involved in various support activities to improve capacities of school/community/home education, aimed at helping children with a sense of trouble to be able to actively live their lives.

Prof. Honda of Fukushima University gave a presentation entitled “What has emerged through activities supporting the affected children” on the problems that children in Fukushima have.

Presentation summary:
The Child and Youth Support Group of the Fukushima Future Center for Regional Revitalization of Fukushima University provides support for the affected children who have a “sense of trouble”* in order to help them to live actively.

* Feeling that a child has when he/she is at a loss due to being unable to solve a problem when he/she feels troubled.

* Feeling that a child has when he/she is at a loss due to being unable to solve a problem when he/she feels troubled.

The children who were forced to evacuate experienced the changes in their school environment due to school transfer, the changes in their community environment due to moving and the changes in their family conditions due to the family members living separately. Each child had various senses of troubles. The combination of the senses increased their stress or reduced their sense of self-affirmation. Furthermore, their parents’ stress from various fears or anxieties added to the children’s stress. This continued situation led to more problems and problematic behaviors. And that lowered the children’s ability to live and the situation became too serious to solve their issues only through psychological support.

When thinking about support for the children, you should not consider it in a big picture such as “support for children in Fukushima” but more specifically, for example, “support for children whose physical abilities have lowered due to restrictions on playing outdoors”. Each of these children needs to be assessed in terms of the problems that they are facing and the abilities that they are reducing. Then we need to provide them with support to enhance their abilities to live.

Presentation 2: JRCS health assistance program for people who evacuated
  to Iwaki City from Namie Town - Connection between people and community -
Presentation 2:

JRCS health assistance program for people who evacuated to Iwaki City from Namie Town - Connection between people and community -

Ms. Mie Naiki
Lecturer, Cooperative Doctoral Program for Disaster Nursing (DNGL), Japanese Red Cross College of Nursing

Ms. Naiki was born in Takayama City, Gifu Prefecture. While working as a midwife at the Japanese Red Cross Takayama Hospital, she engaged in medical care in a conflicted area on the border of Cambodia in 1993. Following the activity, she was dispatched to conflicted areas or disaster areas six times for emergency or long-term assistance. From 2009, she was involved in making assistance plans including planning a maternal and child health project for Uganda as an expert on health assistance for affected people. During this period of time, she worked for the Omori Red Cross Hospital and the Japanese Red Cross Katsushika Maternity Hospital as a midwife and nurse administrator. After that career, she began working as a full-time lecturer for Cooperative Doctoral Program for Disaster Nursing (DNGL) at the Japanese Red Cross College of Nursing (JRCCN). She completed a doctoral program at the Graduate School of the JRCCN. From January 2012, she engaged in a survey and consideration conducted by the JRCS for provision of health services to people of Futaba County, Fukushima Prefecture who were affected by the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident and evacuated to Iwaki City. This survey was part of a project by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. Following the project, Ms. Naiki has been working as a responsible manager for the planning and operation of JRCS health assistance program for people who evacuated to Iwaki City from Namie Town.

Ms. Naiki of the Japanese Red Cross College of Nursing gave a presentation entitled “JRCS health assistance program for people who evacuated to Iwaki City from Namie Town”.

Presentation summary:
People who evacuated from Namie Town to Iwaki City were not provided enough public health services. The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare asked us if the JRCS could provide services to these evacuees from Namie. When we were requested by the ministry, we certainly recognized that we needed to do something. However, there was no precedent of such assistance. Then we began thinking about what we could do as an organization. We made a plan and asked relevant parties to agree with it. Finally, our program got started. The program was about providing a door-to-door health consultation to all evacuees from Namie Town to Iwaki City, organizing salon communication events and providing Yoga lessons, etc. We started the program in September 2012.

Our findings from the health consultation program were that: more evacuees purchased a house in Iwaki City in the third year from the earthquake; insomnia, anxieties and frustrations were increased among the evacuees, which is believed to have been caused by no prospect for returning to their hometown; and many of the evacuees (40% or more) were worried about their lifestyles. When they lived in Namie before the earthquake and tsunami, 68% of them participated in their community events. However, the number decreased after they evacuated to Iwaki City to 4% two years after the earthquake, and three years on, only 24% of them joined events of their new community. These figures show that it is quite difficult for them to join their new community. Unintentional words said by the people who accepted the evacuees led to withdrawal of the evacuees in some cases. However, if the affected people were emotionally healed even a little, they began trying to communicate with the local people in some cases. When you think about what you can do for the evacuees, I would like you to keep in mind that you need to be emotionally prepared for accepting the evacuees.”

Presentation 3: Beyond “We will not forget” – Myself x Future Dialogue
Presentation 3:

Beyond “We will not forget” – Myself x Future Dialogue

High school student members of The Simplest Explanation of the National Diet of Japan Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission Report (The Simplest NAIIC)

Some members who were involved in the drafting of the National Diet of Japan Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission Report, adults and college students jointly launched The Simplest NAIIC in September 2012. The purpose of the project is to send the messages of the report widely to the public in an easy-to-understand way. They have been working on their activities based on three ground rules: Positions and ideas are not to be questioned; Pursue “why”; Have interactive discussions (listening, learning and dialogue), instead of debate (simply making claims). At this seminar, high school and university students of The Simples NAIIC made a presentation.

The final presentation was made by student members of The Simplest NAIIC entitled “Beyond ‘We will not forget’ – Myself x Future Dialogue”.

Presentation summary:
In Part 1 of our presentation, each team from Fukushima, the Metropolitan Area and Nada (Kobe City) will explain their activities. In Part 2, we will give a presentation about what we became aware of from a three-team joint dialogue session.

By reading the National Diet of Japan Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission Report and listening to people of various positions who responded to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident as our field works, the team of Fukushima has tried to understand what happened during the nuclear disaster and what is happening in Fukushima now. The team of the Metropolitan Area looked back on the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami from the viewpoint of “relief efforts during a nuclear disaster” as part of a dialogue activity between different generations. Nada Senior High School in Kobe has organized a “Tohoku Camp” since 2012. For the purpose of conveying what they learned about the Tohoku Region and the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami from the camp to people around them, the Nada Senior High School students launched a project called “Nada-ko Tohoku Kikaku” (a project for Tohoku planned by the students) and the team has organized various activities.

The three teams had a joint dialogue by starting with the different regional viewpoints and the time course which each team focused on. At the end of the dialogue, we came to a conclusion that it is not enough to focus on only the preparedness for or response to disasters but it is also important to review the past disasters from both sides of before and after the disasters. Without reviewing the disasters in that way, we may not be able to think about how to deal with disasters as possible disaster-affected people in the future in Japan, a disaster-prone country. In order to prepare for making better decisions in the event of a disaster, it is important to look into the lessons learned from the past disasters on a daily basis and to acquire the ability to quickly make the right decisions with limited information. In addition to this, it is very important to improve our disaster preparedness in order to protect our lives if a disaster occurs.

One of the things that high school students can do is to do disaster exercises or play games such as an evacuation center management game with children who do not know about the past disasters. Furthermore, reflecting on these experiences and learning new lessons will matter. Instead of leaving the experiences of the past disasters behind, we want to learn from them for the future. To make this happen, we will continue to think to widen our perspectives.

 Part 2: Workshop

Part 2: Workshop

In the workshop part, Prof. Amano served as the facilitator. The participants were divided into five teams and worked on a theme “What can we do immediately for disaster preparedness?”

What the participants became aware of from the presentations given in the Part 1 is that “the problems in the affected area are happening not only in the area but also everywhere in Japan, and those problems may have just become apparent due to the disaster.” Based on this awareness, the participants began to work on the theme by the following steps: (1) Think about how we can apply the lessons learned from the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami to our living areas or communities; (2) Organize each team member’s views into the team’s ideas to create a community system (social system); (3) Finalize the team’s ideas by referring to other teams’ ideas and feedback from the commentators.

The ideas for community systems presented by each team are:

  • Form a community based on the lessons learned from the experiences in the affected areas and a sense of crisis as shared awareness;
  • Form a community based on an autonomous community association;
  • Organize community-based events to encourage residents to join their community;
  • Nurture generosity to accept people who happen to be in your community as visitors in the event of a disaster, because people do not always encounter disasters in their own communities.
  • Form a community based on the lessons learned from the experiences in the affected areas and a sense of crisis as shared awareness;
  • Form a community based on an autonomous community association;
  • Organize community-based events to encourage residents to join their community;
  • Nurture generosity to accept people who happen to be in your community as visitors in the event of a disaster, because people do not always encounter disasters in their own communities.

Problems or bottlenecks which could hamper the ideas to be realized were also shared as follows:

  • People have very little sense of belonging to their community;
  • There are very few connections between generations.
  • People have very little sense of belonging to their community;
  • There are very few connections between generations.

Following the views shared, the participants began making a plan using a phrase: “We will create a system of xxx. The aim is to xxx.” Each team presented the following ideas:

  • We will create a community for elderly people who live alone. The aim is to prevent unattended deaths or isolation of the elderly.
  • We will create a system of communication through an enjoyable evacuation exercise. The aim is to provide the community people with an opportunity of an evacuation exercise which they can feel easy to join.
  • We will create a system of disseminating accurate information. The aim is to provide information for residents to be able to join the community and connect with each other.
  • We will create a system of circulating daily communication in a community and effects of non-daily special community events to facilitate better communication. The aim is to connect people in the community.
  • We will create a system or forum to share information. The aim is to nurture generosity that can accept anyone.
  • We will create a community for elderly people who live alone. The aim is to prevent unattended deaths or isolation of the elderly.
  • We will create a system of communication through an enjoyable evacuation exercise. The aim is to provide the community people with an opportunity of an evacuation exercise which they can feel easy to join.
  • We will create a system of disseminating accurate information. The aim is to provide information for residents to be able to join the community and connect with each other.
  • We will create a system of circulating daily communication in a community and effects of non-daily special community events to facilitate better communication. The aim is to connect people in the community.
  • We will create a system or forum to share information. The aim is to nurture generosity that can accept anyone.

» For more on the workshop, please visit here.

Epilogue:

Epilogue:

Prof. Amano referred to disasters as follows:
“In the event of a disaster, you can only respond to it in the same way that you prepare for in advance. Even if problems emerge in a community after a disaster, they are not new problems but they have already existed before the disaster. The disaster just triggers them to be apparent. A disaster-resilient community is a community of good connection among people. Therefore, if community residents cherish a connection between people on a daily basis, that will lead to disaster risk reduction in a community.”

To conclude the seminar, each participant wrote “What I can do immediately for disaster preparedness” on a sticky note and put it on a whiteboard. Then a picture of the participants and observers before the board was taken.

The Fourth Red Cross Nuclear Disaster Seminar was joined by high school students, university students, Red Cross volunteers and JRCS staff members from across Japan. They had active discussions during the seminar. We hope that there would be more opportunities for similar discussions.