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  3. Day 1: Field Trip in Fukushima
Day 1: Field Trip in Fukushima

Day 1: Field Trip in Fukushima

On Day 1, October 27, the participants visited the Fukushima Prefectural Office and the Fukushima Red Cross Hospital. At the prefectural office, Mr. Murata, Vice Governor, gave a welcome speech, and then officials of the Fukushima Prefectural Government explained the revitalization plan and the current situation of Fukushima Prefecture. At the Fukushima Red Cross Hospital, the participants listened to explanations about the JRCS's relief activities and the Fukushima Medical University's health survey for Fukushima citizens.

Fukushima Prefectural Office


The participants in the Reference Group Meeting visited Fukushima Prefectural Office. At the beginning of the meeting, Mr. Fumio Murata, Vice Governor of Fukushima Prefecture, gave warm welcome remarks to the participants on behalf of Fukushima citizens, in which he expressed gratitude for the assistance and support provided by Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies around the world. He also hoped that the participants would look at the efforts that Fukushima Prefecture worked on and the reconstruction progress in order to use them for the improvement of Red Cross relief activities and response during possible future disasters.
 
When the Vice Governor told them that the citizens of Fukushima are united in building a new Fukushima with motto “Future From Fukushima”, there was an applause from the participants.
 
Next, Dr. Hilal Musaed AlSayer, President of Kuwait Red Crescent Society, extended his appreciation for the invitation visit to the Vice Governor on behalf of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. The president explained that the participants were going to look at the reality of the affected areas, listen to the survivors and discuss how Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies should prepare for possible future disasters.
 

Vice Governor of Fukushima Prefecture and a trip participant
Vice Governor of Fukushima Prefecture
and a trip participant

Then, Mr. Abe, Deputy Director of Revitalization and Comprehensive Planning Division of Fukushima Prefectural Government, spoke about the reconstruction status of Fukushima Prefecture. He told the participants that the prefectural government created a plan for revitalization with three basic concepts including “Building a safe, secure and sustainable society free from nuclear power”, and is working on 12 priority projects such as environment restoration, livelihood rebuilding support, primary industry revival and promotion of renewable energy. He expressed a strong determination saying: “Although we have a long way to go, we will make sure that we accomplish it.”
 
For the reconstruction plan of Fukushima Prefecture, please click on the link below.
http://www.pref.fukushima.lg.jp/download/1/plan_for_revitalization2_outline.pdf
(You will be leaving our website to Fukushima Prefectural Government’s website.)
 
Fukushima Prefectural Office presented chopsticks made from Aizu lacquerware as a commemorative gift to the participants. The Japanese word for chopsticks is “hashi”, also meaning “bridge”, and the gift shows a wish for the visit to be a bridge between Fukushima and the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
 

Fukushima Red Cross Hospital


The Fukushima Red Cross Hospital

After the visit to the Fukushima Prefectural Office, the participants visited the Fukushima Red Cross Hospital.
 
At the beginning of the presentation, Dr. Watanabe, Deputy Director General of the hospital, gave the following explanations of how the JRCS and the Fukushima Red Cross Hospital responded to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident.
 
Right after the earthquake on March 11, 2011, DMATs (Disaster Medical Assistance Teams) and relief teams were dispatched to Fukushima Prefecture as well as other affected prefectures from the Red Cross hospitals and

chapters around the country. However, soon after the accident occurred at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, all JRCS relief teams except for the Fukushima Red Cross Hospital moved to other prefectures for relief activities or returned to their Red Cross hospitals. At that time, the JRCS had no code of conduct for response to nuclear accidents and no knowledge nor equipment necessary to respond to that kind of accidents. That was the main reason for the withdrawal from Fukushima Prefecture. Afterwards, the JRCS formulated safety measures for relief activities under radiation conditions and restarted their relief activities in Fukushima Prefecture. However, their biggest challenge that remained was having no preparedness for nuclear disasters.
 
During the temporary re-entry into the restricted area by the evacuees, the Fukushima Red Cross Hospital provided medical assistance, and continued to conduct screening for internal exposure by using a Whole Body Counter.
The JRCS launched the Nuclear Disaster Resource Center and are preparing “(Tentative) Guidelines for Red Cross Activities during Nuclear Disasters” and disseminating information on nuclear disasters through their Digital Archives.
 
Presentation slides (Dr. Watanabe, Fukushima Red Cross Hospital) [PDF]

Following the presentation by Dr. Watanabe, another presentation was made by Dr. Ohtsuru, Fukushima Medical University (FMU) about: (1) Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident and Disaster Medical Activities by FMU; (2) Radiation Dose Estimation in Fukushima Residents; and (3) Challenges in Post-Disaster Health Promotion and Health Management Survey for Fukushima citizens.
Soon after the accident, the FMU provided activities such as: dispatching of DMATs; acceptance of affected patients; body contamination screening of Fukushima citizens; treatment of patients transported from the nuclear power plant site; and health support for temporary housing residents. Dr. Ohtsuru also introduced the survey results of estimated radiation doses over the four months after the nuclear accident. Finally, he explained the health management survey of Fukushima citizens which has been conducted as the post-disaster support by using the data. He told the participants that there should be support to prevent diseases caused by stress and life-style changes from evacuation immediately after a disaster occurs, and also that psychological care and risk communication about radiation is important in the long term.
 
Presentation slides (Dr. Ohtsuru, Fukushima Medical University) [PDF]