TOKYO, Feb. 26, 2018 /Kyodo JBN/ --
Ministry of the Environment, Japan
Ministry of the Environment Cohosts Panel Discussion “Update Fukushima” -- Cheer Fukushima by Knowing It More and Sharing That Knowledge More
- Statement for “Update Fukushima” Released from Tokyo -
The Ministry of the Environment of Japan (MOEJ) on Saturday, February 10, 2018, cohosted the Panel Discussion “Update Fukushima” -- Cheer Fukushima by Knowing It More and Sharing That Knowledge More --, hosted by the Update Fukushima Executive Committee and held at the United Nations University’s U Thant International Conference Hall (in Shibuya-ku, Tokyo).
While environmental recovery in Fukushima after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake is well underway, the area still suffers misconceptions within Japan and abroad due mostly to the lack of accurate information. To help correct this situation, the ministry cohosted the aforementioned event in order to discuss, identify and share a variety of facts, viewpoints, effective methods and the like necessary to update and communicate information on the state of Fukushima.
The event brought a total of 275 participants into one place, consisting of individual attendees in response to the ministry’s call on the public to join the event in advance, and representatives from the government, Fukushima, education, media and other various fields.
Based on a variety of questions and comments sent in to the Update Fukushima Secretariat in advance, the event took place in this manner: Part 1 of its program featured issues raised by the members of the Update Fukushima Executive Committee and the exchange of views among them, Part 2 introduced case studies on updated Fukushima affairs, as presented by those representing the educational and media communities and local high school students, and Part 3 focused on further discussions on the subjects of “Update the public awareness of Fukushima,” “Continue efforts to communicate the truth about Fukushima in an effective way” and the like, to summarize the discussions into the statement of “Update Fukushima,” which was then released from Tokyo.
On the day of the event, in Part 1: Thoughts on Fukushima Today -- Theories, four members of the Update Fukushima Executive Committee appeared on the stage for discussions: Ryugo Hayano, Professor Emeritus, University of Tokyo; Sae Ochi, Lecturer, Department of Clinical Laboratory Medicine, Tokyo Jikei University School of Medicine; William McMichael, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Fukushima University; and Hiroshi Kainuma, Associate Professor, Kinugasa Research Organization, Ritsumeikan University. Mr. Kainuma played the role of facilitator to step up interaction between the panel members and the audience on the subjects of Fukushima’s agricultural produce, foods, environment, health, Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station and other affairs, by giving some quizzes to the audience, which were answered by panel members, while identifying some of the issues that are actually going on in Fukushima, including “misleading information about radiation,” “health risks in Fukushima increasingly more serious than risks between radiation exposure and cancer” and the “wrong imagery about Fukushima felt by people abroad,” for example. Then, he led the panel members to write their messages on the boards, such as “Communicate it to a wide range of people, as well as to each individual,” “Enjoy exploring ‘what you don’t know’,” and “Kakushin (or confidence) x Kakushin (or the core part of the issues affecting Fukushima),” to share their views on what can be done to “update the imagery about Fukushima.”
In Part 2: How the State of Fukushima Today Is Communicated -- Case Studies, Assistant Professor McMichael from Fukushima University first appeared on the stage together with foreign students, who participate in the Fukushima Ambassador Program while currently staying and studying in Fukushima, to discuss how to meet the “challenge of building a Fukushima model for global education for recovery from disasters.” In discussing the theme, they admitted that “there are many foreign students who have changed their impressions about Fukushima after they actually visit the place.” Representing overseas media, Vikram Channa, Vice President and Production Head for Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific, delivered his speech on the subject of “Communicating Fukushima in the Age of Social Media” to present a TV program titled “FUKUSHIMA DIARIES” broadcast on Discovery Channel to share viewers’ responses to the program.
Then, representing Japanese media, Akira Ito, Chief Producer for the TV Programming Division of TV-U Fukushima, came up onto the stage together with Riken Komatsu, president of Alternative Space UDOK, and Hiroshi Motoki, president of Wonder Farm, who both appeared on the TV program to have a talk show on the subject of “Correcting the Images of FUKUSHIMA Via TV Program,” and then talked about “Fukushima Today,” a documentary program for overseas audiences, as broadcast in a total of 18 countries, including China, South Korea and those in Southeast Asia, in terms of episodes behind the production of the program and responses to it from local viewers.
NB. You can watch the two programs of “FUKUSHIMA DIARIES” and “Fukushima Today” on the following website: http://josen.env.go.jp/en/movie_publication/cooperation_index.html
The last part of the case study session in Part 2 was presided over by Dr. Hayano who led Shunya Okino and Honoka Ara, who are juniors at Fukushima High School, and Ryo Endo, a junior at Fukushima Futaba Future School, to present their case studies so far made under the theme of “We Explore, Learn, Study and Communicate.” Okino said in his presentation, “I hope people will keep watching us in Fukushima (in warmth and without prejudice) by gaining the right knowledge about it,” while Ara said, “I will continue to communicate facts about ‘Utsukushima Fukushima (Beautiful Place, Fukushima)’ not only to people in Japan but also to people in the rest of the world.” And Endo said, “It is natural that even if they come from the same Fukushima prefecture, how hard experiences they might have undergone from that disaster and how to think about their future may vary from person to person. I hope that you understand us in a more flexible way.”
In Part 3: Cheer Fukushima by Knowing It More and Sharing That Knowledge More -- Summary, the four members of the Update Fukushima Executive Committee, who appeared in Part 1, were joined by Takashi Hara, a teacher at Fukushima High School, Ippei Nango, Vice Principal of Futaba Future School, and Hideka Morimoto, Vice Minister of the Environment, the MOEJ, to write their messages each for “Update Fukushima” on the boards before getting down to the discussion.
With his message saying, “Want to update educational trips for high school students,” Mr. Hara stressed how important it is to educate people in the right way. Showing his message “‘For Fukushima’ to ‘From Fukushima’ with the Youth,” Mr. Nango said that young people without unwanted ties or fetters are expected to actively participate in the decision-making process to communicate information from Fukushima to the rest of the world.” And MOEJ Vice Minister Morimoto, with his message of “Just talking cannot get across to people -- (need for) group learning,” said that based on lessons learnt from the case of the Minamata disease, or methylmercury poisoning caused in Japan by environmental pollution, it is important to build a scheme allowing people to trust one another (or group learning), through which we would like to strive for winning understanding about decontamination and intermediate storage of radioactive materials among people.”
Dr. Hayano wrote “(All women in Fukushima) feel safe to have babies,” “All” and “Individuals” on the board and said, “It is important to communicate the right information to individuals. Education holds the key but it will be also necessary to take an approach of sharing it with all people in the future.”
Dr. Ochi wrote “No qualification is required to talk about Fukushima. Do from now on right here” and said, “Some of you may choose to keep silent because you have never been there or you may feel afraid of causing trouble if you say something despite not being an expert. Never mind, you may think and talk about Fukushima from now on and right here.” Mr. McMichael wrote “No boundaries, Kakushin (confidence) x Kakushin (the core part of the issue) = Kakushin (innovation)” and said, “It is important to move forward to build a better future and get things innovated in the awareness process.” Finally, as the facilitator, Mr. Kainuma, announced a statement for “Update Fukushima” before the audience before closing the panel discussion event.
A Statement for “Update Fukushima”:
Official site of Update Fukushima: http://josen.env.go.jp/update_fukushima/en/
Official site of the Ministry of the Environment of Japan:
* A report on what was going on at this Panel Discussion event will be disclosed at the URLs above on a later day.