Approaching 6 years since the complex disaster of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Fukushima nuclear power plant accident, restoration efforts are visible. On the other hand, there remain unsolved problems, such as many evacuees who still live inside and outside Fukushima Prefecture, away from the places they regard as “home.” In support of them, and to promote open dialog on further reconstruction, a “Citizens’ College” convened in Fukushima City on February 4, 2017. Organized by the Research Base for Radiation Accidents and Medical Science, established in April, 2016, this Citizens’ College attracted about 150 participants, mainly prefectural residents.
After opening remarks by representatives of FMU and the Fukushima Prefectural Government, Yuko Endo, Mayor of Kawauchi Village, and Hideo Yanagisawa, NHK commentator, gave special lectures. They talked about their commitments to reconstruction as well as the need to get close to residents, to listen to residents’ opinions, to respect them, and to proceed with restoration with due regard for local preferences.
Subsequently, Drs. Masaya Yamauchi, Vice Director of Hiroshima University, Ichiro Sekine, Professor Emeritus of Nagasaki University, and Seiichi Takenoshita, Special Assistant to the President of FMU, offered their individual perspectives on nuclear disaster recovery, followed by a panel discussion by all three doctors. Through presentations and discussions by experts from Hiroshima University, Nagasaki University, and FMU, common issues emerged about reconstruction, whether from atomic bombs or nuclear accidents.
This Citizens’ College event was considered to be a valuable first step for the creation of “Recovery and Revitalization Studies” as well as a good opportunity for developing the cooperation of the three universities constituting the Research Base for Radiation Accidents and Medical Science, whose objectives are “to establish an academic foundation for advanced and integrated radiation disaster and medical science research, and to offer the results of the research to residents of the nation and to the international community.”
The titles of the presentations are listed:
1. Special Lectures
Yuko Endo: Breaking Away vs. Breaking Free
Hideo Yanagisawa: Toward an Order-Made Restoration
Masaya Yamauchi: Reconstruction from Devastation – Hiroshima
Ichiro Sekine: Nagasaki – Reconstruction after the Atomic Bomb
Seiichi Takenoshita: Fukushima’s Medical Base for Revitalization and Reconstruction