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International Advanced Training Course in Stakeholder Engagement for Recovery after Nuclear Disasters on 13-17 October, 2021 in Fukushima

On 11-15 October, 2021, the online seminar “International Advanced Training Course on Stakeholder Engagement for Recovery after Nuclear Disasters,” was held in Kawauchi Village, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. Almost 150 experts and young professionals including REMPAN members participated in this online seminar. In this year, five foreign master students of Disaster and Radiation Medical Sciences participated in this seminar onsite.

The objective of this seminar was to explain and present practical experience based on the model developed by Nagasaki University in cooperation with Kawauchi Village to support rehabilitation of the areas affected by the Fukushima accident.

The March 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant caused extensive human suffering and revealed the need for more effective means of communicating health risks to the public. The rehabilitation of Kawauchi provides a model for future responses. In March 2012, after tedious decontamination work in the village, radiation doses were found to be safe for residents of Kawauchi to return home, and schools and public offices were reopened. In 2013, the public authorities of Kawauchi Village and Nagasaki University, which has helped with the reconstruction work since 2011, established a satellite office known as the “Nagasaki University–Kawauchi Village Reconstruction Promotion Base.”

In the seminar, supports for recovery efforts conducted by the university in Kawauchi were introduced by Professor Noboru Takamura, the co-expertise process for the recovery of the community after a nuclear disaster was explained by Professor Jacques Lochard (Nagasaki University), and the recovery process of the village was introduced by Kawauchi’s mayor, Mr. Yuko Endo, and Mr. Juichi Ide, the head of Kawauchi Laboratory. In addition, the activities of food monitoring centers in Kawauchi Village and Tomioka Town (adjacent to Kawauchi) were explained by their staff members. In a summary of field visits on the final day of the seminar, the participants engaged in active discussion.

The seminar was offered not only via live stream, but also as on-demand recordings of each session so that participants could view the seminar at their convenience.

More than 10 years have passed since the accident, and close to 80% of Kawauchi’s residents have returned back to their homes. On the other hand, more than 30,000 Fukushima citizens are still under evacuation. The lessons learned from the Fukushima accident are definitely important to think about for recovery from a nuclear disaster.

In the near future, Nagasaki University is going to hold similar seminars in Fukushima, especially for young professionals in the field of radiation medical sciences. Finally, we would like to express our sincere appreciation to all that participated in the seminar!