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Fukushima Trip

Author: Hans Jesper Del Mundo

Editors: Motoi Miura, Moe Hirohara

Before leaving Japan to return to the Philippines, I accompanied Ms. Yuki Senoo to Iwaki city, which is located southeast of Fukushima. This trip was organized and made possible by Ms. Asaka Higuchi, Ms. Izumi Yoshida and their colleagues at the Tokiwa Foundation, which is based in Fukushima.

Following the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster, which followed the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, radiation exposure was one of the primary concerns for the residents of said prefecture because of the possible radiation-related health threats. We Filipinos do not have this kind of problem or worry in the Philippines because, even though the country is prone to earthquakes like Japan, we do not have an active nuclear power plant. Before this trip, I had the opportunity to read the brochure for the international symposium on disaster management and recovery for children and communities, which was held in Soma city, Fukushima, in 2016. It indicates that, after the disaster, temporary housing for many, the psychological impacts on the residents, elder care, and insufficient health workers were problems that many parts of Fukushima faced. It cannot be avoided that many local residents, nursing homes, and other facilities evacuated to a location further from the nuclear power plant. Children are believed to be at a greater risk for radiation exposure than adults, so residents limited their outdoor exposure to 30 minutes soon after the incident. After learning all these facts, I was curious to see what is happening in Fukushima after more than 6 years since the disaster.

When we arrived at Yumoto Station in Iwaki city, we received a warm welcome from Mr. Takemoto, and he brought us to Tokiwa Children’s Club where we also met Mr. Yoshida and the other teachers. I learned that the