Accepted Paper:

Minus to zero: the struggle against radioactivity by the Hippo District Community Center  


Mutsumi Yamaguchi (Tohoku University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper reports on the struggle of the community center in Hippo District to deal with radioactive fallout from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station.

Paper long abstract:

The Hippo District is a lush rural area in Miyagi Prefecture, Japan, surrounded by the Abukuma Mountains. Since the 1970s, the main industries in this region have changed from farming and charcoal production to dairy farming and tertiary industries, and the area has experienced depopulation. The Hippo District Community Center plays an active role in regional improvement. It recruits immigrants from urban areas, created the Ink Brush Festival (Fude Matsuri), and promotes community activities based on the name of the district.

The current problem facing this district is that it is located about 50 km north of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, which experienced a serious nuclear disaster during the 2011 East Japan Disaster. Radioactivity from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station has destroyed the peaceful lives of Hippo District residents during the 3 years since the disaster. During this same period, it became impossible to eat wild vegetables and mushrooms or to burn wood fuel, residents were rarely able to sell their agricultural products in local markets, and tourism decreased suddenly.

Under these circumstances, the community center has played an important role in the struggle to deal with the radioactivity. It has measured radioactivity levels, created a radioactivity map, submitted claims for compensation to the Tokyo Electric Power Co., Inc., and requested health checkups from the government. This study reports on the process by which the Hippo District Community Center has addressed the problem of radioactivity.

Panel P023
Living with disaster: comparative approaches (JAWS/JASCA joint panel)