Kawauchi Village Reconstruction Promotion Base

After the accident at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, people in Kawauchi village were forced to do a temporary village-wide evacuation. In March 2012, following the containment of the accident, Kawauchi issued a “Return to the Village Statement,” which was the first of its kind in Fukushima Prefecture, and the village has been striving to reconstruct itself ahead of other municipalities.

Nagasaki University has been assisting Kawauchi’s reconstruction efforts since December 2011. Specifically, we have been providing scientific support for the residents’ return to the village and for reconstruction. For instance, before the return to the village we showed that returning was scientifically justified by estimating residents’ radiation exposure through measurement of radioactive substances in the soil. And in May 2012, a graduate student in the master’s program in the School of Health Sciences who is a public health nurse stayed for an extended period to conduct individual consulting on radiation exposure and health.

In the context of these activities, Nagasaki University and Kawauchi concluded an agreement on April 20, 2013, concerning comprehensive cooperation toward reconstruction of the village, and we established in the village a satellite facility of the university: the Nagasaki University - Kawauchi Village Reconstruction Promotion Base. At the base, public health nurse Makiko Orita, who is also a graduate student in the university’s doctor’s program, is stationed permanently. Closely cooperating with the village office, we are ensuring residents’ safety and peace of mind through measurement of radioactive substances in the soil and food, as well as providing health consultation services based on the obtained data. Moreover, with the support of faculty members of the School of Health Sciences, she is also ensuring that residents are healthy through efforts to rehabilitate the region, while paying attention to people’s decreased physical strength due to the prolonged evacuation after the earthquake. Furthermore, in cooperation with the Nuclear Safety Research Association, we introduced germanium semiconductor detectors in Kawauchi and thus established a system to measure radioactive substances more speedily and efficiently.

In utilizing such a base, the cooperation between Nagasaki University and Kawauchi is attracting attention as a model for reconstruction after the earthquake. With the Atomic Bomb Disease Institute playing a central role, we plan to continue our activities as we offer Fukushima support from Nagasaki University.