Red Cross Smile Park

Outdoor play of pre-school children in Fukushima Prefecture was limited because of the concerns about effects it might have on them from the Fukushima Daiichi accident. The Fukushima Chapter strongly hoped to prepare an in-door playground so that the children could move their body freely. Based on this idea, the Fukushima Chapter created a program called “Red Cross Smile Park”. The program was held in 6 cities in Fukushima Prefecture 13 times from February 2012 to December 2013.

Special webpage for Red Cross Smile Park

A special webpage for this program is posted on the Digital Archives. For more, please go to the webpage “Red Cross Smile Park”.

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At the venue, giant air-filled playground equipment was prepared and programs such as an exercise class were provided for children to move their body freely. For children who were not good at exercise, other programs including storytelling were also provided.

Period: Venue: No. of
2012/02/08 - 02/17 Youth Center Gymnasium, City of Fukushima [PDF] 5,340
2012/07/03 - 07/13 Minami Gymnasium, City of Fukushima [PDF] 6,487
2012/07/22 - 08/03 Hamanasu-kan (General Welfare Center), Soma [PDF] 5,297
2012/09/30 - 10/10 Nanbu Arena of Minami-no-mori Sports Park, Iwaki [PDF] 7,607
2012/10/16 - 10/25 Commemorative Gymnasium of National Sports Festival, Shirakawa [PDF] 4,775
2012/11/14 - 11/26 Sports Arena Soma, Soma [PDF] 5,618
2012/12/18 - 12/27 Paruse Iizaka, City of Fukushima [PDF] 5,766
2013/07/02 - 07/12 Minami Gymnasium, City of Fukushima [PDF] 7,508
2013/09/02 - 09/12 Iwase Regional Training Center, Sukagawa [PDF] 5,052
2013/10/16 - 10/25 Commemorative Gymnasium of National Sports Festival, Shirakawa [PDF] 6,682
2013/11/06 - 11/13 Sports Arena Soma, Soma [PDF] 5,371
2013/11/21 - 12/03 General Gymnasium, Koriyama 12,346
2013/12/08 - 12/19 Iwaki Shinmaiko Heights Gymnasium, Iwaki [PDF] 8,735

Comment by Fukushima Chapter staff

■ Background of the program:
In Fukushima Prefecture, there was a serious problem relating to children. They were not able to play outdoors due to concerns about radiation effects caused by the Fukushima Daiichi accident following the earthquake and tsunami. This led to the children’s lack of exercise or psychological stress.

■ Damage:
In Fukushima Prefecture, parents with little children had a lot of fear due to the radiation problems following the nuclear accident. Because the children were unable to play outdoors, there were more children with obesity than the national average.

■ Why did we start the program?
There were children (preschool children) in Fukushima Prefecture who could not play freely outdoors. We hoped to prepare an indoor playground for them to play without fear or worries about radiation. We hoped that the children would compensate for their lack of exercise and release their stress and their parents would feel secured and remove their anxieties. That is why we started the program.

■ The survivors’ situation:
Due to concerns about effects from radiation in the atmosphere, outdoor play of the children was limited.

■ Good points:
At every venue, children played cheerfully and sweat. During the program periods, the venues were visited by children every day. As well as their parents, teachers of nursery schools and kindergartens were very pleased with the program. The media including TV and newspapers often covered this program, leading to an extensive dissemination of information on the JRCS recovery assistance.

■ Difficult points:
The Red Cross Smile Park program was one of the biggest-scale JRCS recovery assistance programs. In addition, this was the first time for the JRCS to organize this kind of program. Therefore, there were many trials and errors. We needed to select the venues, vendors and play equipment, and prepare an operation manual, and also take care of children’s safety while they were playing. During the periods, we were always working on the program without taking off-time.

All staff members of the Fukushima Chapter were involved in this program and it was difficult to coordinate the schedule.