Red Cross Smile Park

2014/08/05

赤十字すまいるぱーく

What is “Red Cross Smile Park”?


Outline of the program
 Red Cross Smile Park (hereinafter “Smile Park”) is a mobile indoor-playground program planned and prepared for children whose access to outdoor play was limited due to the radiation effects from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident. From February 2012 to December 2013, this event was held in 6 cities: Fukushima, Soma, Iwaki, Shirakawa, Koriyama and Sukagawa. In total, 13 rounds took place and 86,584 people visited the event.
 This program was conducted as part of the recovery programs for people affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. For more on the programs, please click on the link:
Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Aid Report -Mobilizing people around the world who desire to help-.

Background of the Smile Park program
 The program was aimed at providing children whose outdoor activities were limited due to the effects from the nuclear accident that followed the Great East Japan Earthquake with space where they could play freely and exercise to help them release their psychological stress and maintain their physical abilities.
 In Fukushima, outdoor decontamination is under way. This is being led by the Japanese government and local municipalities. In spite all of this, the decontamination would take a long time and parents were concerned about letting their children play outside so children’s outdoor activities remained limited. As a result, decreased physical strength of children in Fukushima had been regarded as an issue. To grapple with this situation, elementary schools and junior high schools in Fukushima took measures against it. However, not enough measures for pre-school children had necessarily been taken. With this as a background, the Smile Park program was organized and conducted by the JRCS Fukushima Chapter for pre-school children in Fukushima to allow them to have opportunities to move their bodies.

Contents of the Smile Park program
 On the indoor playground, play equipment such as huge air-filled equipment, ball pools, air tracks and cyber wheels were prepared so that children could play freely and safely. On the stage, programs, including a stage show of Anpanman which is popular among children, an exercise class and storytelling took place. In addition, talk shows were performed by some invited personalities. (Operations of the Smile Park program were outsourced to vendors.)

Organizers and corporations committed to the program

Organized by: Fukushima Chapter of the Japanese Red Cross Society
Co-organized by: Local governments and Boards of Education of the venue cities
Supported by: <FY 2012>
Fukushima Association of Principals of National and Municipal Kindergartens; Fukushima Association of Principals of Private Kindergartens; FUKUSHIMA-MINPO CO., LTD.; THE FUKUSHIMA MINYU SHIMBUN; Fukushima Television Broadcasting Co., Ltd.; Fukushima Central Television Co., Ltd.; TV-U FUKUSHIMA, INC; Fukushima Broadcasting Co., Ltd.; NHK Fukushima; Radio Fukushima; FM Fukushima

<FY 2013>
FUKUSHIMA-MINPO CO., LTD.; THE FUKUSHIMA MINYU SHIMBUN; Iwaki Minpo Co.; Abukuma Jiho-sha; The Mametimes; Fukushima Television Broadcasting Co., Ltd.; Fukushima Central Television Co., Ltd.; TV-U FUKUSHIMA, INC; Fukushima Broadcasting Co., Ltd.; NHK Fukushima; Radio Fukushima; FM Fukushima; FM POCO; FM Iwaki; Koriyama Community Broadcasting; related associations of kindergartens and child care centers of the venue cities

Collaborated with: <FY 2012>
Canon Marketing Japan Inc.; Sapporo Beverage Co., Ltd.; Touhoku Kyoudounyugyou Corporation; Morinaga & Co., Ltd.

<FY 2013>
EVERNEW INC.; SAKURA COLOR PRODUCTS CORPORATION; Photocreate Co.,Ltd.; Froebel-Kan Co.,Ltd; Canon Marketing Japan Inc.; KOKUYO FURNITURE Co.,Ltd.; Touhoku Kyoudounyugyou Corporation; POKKA SAPPORO Food & Beverage Ltd.; Hotman Co., Ltd.; Yakult

Operated by: <February 2012 – December 2012> IMPRESSION
<July 2013 – December 2013> TOPPAN PRINTING CO., LTD.

Looking back on the program


 Many people visited the “Red Cross Smile Park” program which provided 13 rounds in 6 cities in Fukushima from February 2012 to December 2013.
 After the earthquake, we heard parents voicing concerns about the radiation effects on their children due to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident. At that time, local governments across Fukushima had difficulties in proceeding with setting up indoor-playgrounds for children. For that reason, the Japanese Red Cross Society (JRCS) decided to organize and conduct this program. The people of Fukushima really wanted playgrounds that would allow children to play freely. “Red Cross Smile Park” was a program that the JRCS provided in a timely manner until the local governments could prepare playgrounds for children. We think that this program was highly appreciated by a lot of parents and guardians.
 In the process of preparing the program, the most difficult thing that we encountered was to secure gymnasiums as venues and parking lots. Due to the effects from the earthquake, there were only a small number of gymnasiums which could be used as our venues. Even still, these available gymnasiums were being requested for use by many other organizations and groups. Because of these circumstances, we struggled to find venues which we could use every day for about two weeks per round. We finally managed to secure them with the help of the local governments of the venue cities. In addition, we had difficulties in finding parking lots. But we had to secure them, because cars were the main transportation of people in the venue areas.
 However, our efforts were rewarded. We talked to parents or teachers of the kindergartens and child care centers while watching children playing lively on the play equipment prepared at the venues. Many of them said, “It looks like our fears are disappearing too, as we see children play loud and cheerfully in Smile Park.” When leaving the venues, there were some children crying and saying, “I don’t want to leave.” Other children were waving at us until we were out of sight. We organized the program to encourage children, but contrarily seeing those children encouraged us.
 Some local governments, private companies and non-profit organizations visited the venues to make reference to our Smile Park program in considering their own indoor-playgrounds. We think that our program operation played a significant role. The Smile Park program was terminated with the rounds of FY 2013, but we strongly hope to be able to see many children play outdoors cheerfully again as they did before.

Red Cross Smile Park

Reports of Smile Park rounds


Please click on the venue name below for each report in PDF format.

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