History of the Nonprofit Organization Fukushima Dialogue
Specified Nonprofit Organization Fukushima Dialogue was officially established with the approval of Iwaki City on 26 June 2019.
The accident of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant following the Great East Japan Earthquake on 11 March 2011 caused a large scale diffusion of radioactive materials and brought about serious damage and confusion in Japan. It was the first nuclear accident in Japan’s history and the second largest disaster in the world in terms of its scale of damages following the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident, which happened in 1986 in the former Soviet Union.
Inspired by the experience of dialogue meetings held in Belarus which contributed to support the recovery process in the affected area after the Chernobyl accident. A meeting called “Dialogue Seminar” was held in Fukushima prefecture hosted by the International Commission on Radiation Protection [ICRP] in November 2011 with concerned people in Fukushima and Japanese and foreign radiological protection experts.
The ‘Dialogue Seminar’ started as a private activity of volunteers from ICRP Main Commission and Committees under the guidance of Jacques Lochard who in fact participated with French colleagues in similar activities in the affected area of Belarus.
A first series of twelve Dialogue Seminars hosted by ICRP were held until December 2015 in different municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture and those were developed into a place for exchanging views involving not only Fukushima residents but also a number of participants including experts from other area of Japan and oversea countries as well as residents from Belarus and Norway affected by the Chernobyl accident.
The ICRP Dialogue Seminars started with invited experts but gradually attracted local stakeholders and residents who engaged actively in the organization of the events.
From 2016 the name was changed into “Fukushima Dialogue” and the meetings were organized by a 'coordination group' bringing together local volunteers and external collaborators, in cooperation with ICRP and the support from different organizations.
Though the style of meeting was changed in the course of time with the passage of the ‘ICRP Dialogue Seminars’ to the ‘Fukushima Dialogues’ the purpose of the meetings to create a space where people who are interested in the situation of Fukushima after the nuclear accident could meet and update their information remained always the same.
Records of those meetings saved as movie clips are valuable materials to track chronologically the recovery process after the Fukushima accident from inside and outside the Prefecture.
The amount of accumulated records of the presentations and discussions during the seminars and the dialogues became huge as time goes by. On the other hand, it became clear that it would take more time to recover from the accident than initially thought in particular around the former designated 'evacuation area'.
In 2018, several participants of past seminars and dialogues expressed their wish to create an authorized organization as an essential way to preserve the archives and also to continue to organize meetings project in the future. It is on this basis that motivated individuals have established the present NPO.
The aim of our activity is to continue the dialogues by flexibly adjusting to future conditions of the recovery process while inheriting the experience of the past.
The style we take in our ‘dialogues’ may not be a familiar way of gathering in Japan. This is neither ‘meetings’ to reach a conclusion for a particular problem, nor to prepare necessary social actions. This is just an opportunity for people who wish to know, share, tell and hear about the condition of Fukushima after the nuclear accident, to gather, listen to each other and exchange their ideas.
‘Divisions’ were caused among people after the nuclear accident because of difference in standpoints and ways of thinking of affected people. However, we know from our experience that efforts to explore by sharing each other’s opinion as to what caused the differences and how they differ will become an enormous power, though invisible, when we rebuild our life that was changed after the accident and consider our future that is still unpredictable.
NPO Fukushima Dialogue will be engaged in the following activities:
- Inherit the asset of the past dialogues and pass on to the next generation
- Continue to organize dialogues to share each other’s thoughts and situations
- Maintain the local and international network which was developed through the seminars and dialogues after the nuclear accident
- Carry out the above activities through local initiatives
The nuclear accident was a devastating disaster, which will remain not only in the Japanese but also in the world History. However, we are determined not to leave this experience to finish as a mere unfortunate incident, but to pass it on to the future generations and to contribute to create a new value in Fukushima as a source of inspiration and dissemination.
We hope many people understand and support the purpose of our activity and will join us.
(Please see here
for procedures to become a member of the NPO)
29 September 2019
Specified Nonprofit Organization Fukushima Dialogue
Ryoko ANDO (Yoko KAMATA)
* The English version is uploaded in 8 December 2019.