2012 Aizu Radiation Information Center Report – Japan

2012 Aizu Radiation Information Center Report – Japan

Aizu Radiation Information Center has issued a 2012 report on the usage of CGMB funds that were contributed for disaster relief in Japan.

To supporters of the Aizu Radiation Information Center,

Two years have passed since the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant disaster. The Aizu Radiation Center started its activities in July of that same year. We are deeply grateful for your prayers, and support that have sustained us through these past months.

Soon after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant disaster in March 2011, the Japanese government has repeatedly informed the public that “there is no immediate health risk caused by radiation, “while at the same time launching a “Safety Campaign” in Fukushima Prefecture. Prof. Shunichi Yamashita, the leading authority of the Japan Thyroid Cancer Society, became chief advisor for the Fukushima Radiation Health Risk Management Task Force. He has been busy speaking in many areas of Fukushima, saying that 100mSV/y of radiation exposure has no adverse effects on the human body. For the past two years, scientists lead by Prof. Yamashita, have been making numerous health tests of residents in Fukushima. However, due to some of Prof. Yamashita’s statements, and the testing methods used by his scientists, residents in Fukushima are deeply polarized. Some residents distrust the basic assumptions of the tests, while others tend to trust the findings of the authorities. Families and communities have been rent apart, causing much pain and suffering in their daily lives. In Fukushima Prefecture, where economic recovery has become the primary concern, it has become hard to talk about one’s fear of radiation.

Many people come to the Aizu Radiation Information Center there are local residents of Aizu (people from high-radiation zones who voluntarily fled from their homes) and people from the compulsory evacuation zones that have relocated in the city of Aizu Wakamatsu. Though each of these groups of people come from different backgrounds, for the past two years we have aimed to walk together by joining in projects and programs to protect the lives of children, to find ways to live through these difficult times, to restore the basic human rights that have been taken from us due to the nuclear disaster, and to make sure that such a nuclear disaster will never happen again.


The Aizu Radiation Information Center has two primary goals, 1) to gather local radiation data and inform the public, and 2) to accompany people who are living in fear and anxiety by lending an ear to their concerns.

The Aizu Radiation Information Center gathers local data and informs the public.

Unfortunately, we now live in an age where we need to secure our own safety by making our own measurements and confirming with our own eyes, the safety of the air that we breathe and the food that we eat. At our Center we use the following instruments to gather data.

Food Radiation Detector GDM15

The Royal Swedish Gamma Data Instrumental Co. (Distributer–Japan Environmental Monitoring & Scientific Co., Ltd., Atsuhito Enyu, President) purchased in November, 2011 thanks to a donation from The Evangelical Mission in Solidarity (EMS). President Enyu offered two days of training in how to use the machine, and how to read the spectral readings which appear on the PC. For the month of November we made test runs, and from December opened our services to the public. By March of 2013 we have made over 900 measurements of rice, water, vegetables, fruit, meat, fish and soil. Most farm produce from the Aizu region measures within the safety standards, however we have found Cesium 134 and 137 in wild mushrooms and deer meat. We plan to make measurements of marine products sold in the super market, to insure the safety to consumers. The back yard space of our Center was decontaminated last fall. In order to provide a safe place for children to play, we hope to make daily measurements of radiation in the air, as well as regular measurements of the sand box. In addition, we hope to make measurements of radiation levels in areas outside of Fukushima, by taking measurements in the soil from Tokyo, Sendai, Niigata. This will help us to gain a broader understanding of how radiation is affecting our lives.

B Geige (SAFECAST model)

In July 2012, we received three bGeige mini Geiger counters from a non-profit called SAFECAST in the United States. This Geiger counter can be attached to a car, or to one’s waist, and it will make measurements every five seconds. The results can be recorded onto an SD card and then projected through the internet onto a google map. We have formed a team of six members who make regular measurements of various areas of Fukushima. One of our members living in Kitakata City is working with a person on the local legislature to make measurements to inform the municipal plans for decontamination. The differing levels of radiation are color coded, making it easy for residents to judge where the danger spots are.

Urine Tests for Members

Because the Aizu region of Fukushima Prefecture will not be tested for thyroid cancer until the 2014 fiscal year, and the prefecture-wide “Safety Campaign,” keeps the truth from surfacing about the extent of internal radiation exposure, we felt that it was important to learn as soon as possible how the children of the area were being exposed to internal radiation. For this reason, we ask the Japan Environmental Monitoring & Scientific Co.,Ltd to make urine tests. In July of 2012, in three sessions a total of 60 children and family members were tested. One test cost 10,000 yen ($110). We provided a 5,000 yen subsidy for Aizu residents, and a 7,500 yen subsidy for evacuees. Each time we advertised for this service, all slots were filled within the first day, showing how much the residents felt a need for this test. For the first two sessions we used 150 milli-liter containers, but for the third session used a 500 mili-liter container. In the case that cesium is detected, this could be a great shock for the parents. We feel the need to provide psychological care as we continue our tests.

Emergency Preparedness

We have bought 1000 stable iodine tablets through the help of Dr. Yamazaki. We have distributed these to our members irrespective of their age. We also continue to engage our members in a discussion as to emergency preparedness, as well as methods and directions in the case of the need for evacuation. We are considering the purchase of a ten seat van.

Action for a Nuclear Free World

Every Friday evening, in front of the Prime Minister’s office, as well as in many places across Japan, people have been protesting Japan’s dependence on nuclear energy and calling for a nuclear free world. We have been involved in a silent vigil in the local shopping area in Aizu Wakamatsu city, standing from 4 to 5 in the evenings in the winter, and 4 to 6 in the evenings during the warmer months. In Aizu, there are people who fear radiation but cannot speak out about it, people who want to forget about radiation, and people who are hiding the fact that they are evacuees from other parts of Fukushima. Being loud about our protests could have an adverse effect on the local residents. Although at first, silence may seem to be less persuasive, we believe that we can stand to remind people in a gentle way that the nuclear disaster is still an ongoing concern.

Organizations We Work With

The Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Trial:
13000 people filed a complaint that an investigation and prosecution of the Fukushima nuclear disaster

The Fukushima Resettlement Trial: 14 elementary and junior high school children sewing for the right to live in a safe environment

Fukushima Voluntary Evacuees Association: Aimed at Recovering the Livelihood and Rights of Evacuees

NGO FoE Japan:Domestic NGO Committed to Protecting the Environment and the Lives of the People

Concluding Remarks

Nuclear disaster gives birth to despair experienced as anger, sadness, frustration, and a sense of powerlessness. Each time the earth shakes, each time we hear about power shortages at the plants, we fear that the nuclear reactors, which are yet to this date not under control, will again put our lives at great risk. It will take 40 years before the nuclear plants will fully be closed. It is said that our sense of anxiety will continue for all of this time.

However, as I sit here I can hear the children playing, and the laughter of the mothers as they talk at the Center. This is the HOPE that sustains and supports me in my work. At times we may shed tears together. However, it is a great blessing to have a place where people can connect with one another and support one another. If our nursery school had not closed that year, then our activities would not have started here at the church. We would not have had a place where people could gather freely like this. I am grateful for God who prepared a way for us to serve the public like this, and I also praise God for the many friends both domestic and from around the world who pray for us and support us. These past two years have been made possible thanks to God’s mysterious guidance, and the support of our friends.

It is our responsibility that we have contaminated not only the natural environment, but tainted the future of our children. But I believe that God wants us to live life to its fullest, to persevere to the end with all of our strength. Dreaming of a society that is free of its dependence on nuclear energy, and committed to the love of Christ, I persevere to walk in the spirit of the words as found in the letter to the Philippians 1:9-10: “This is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best.”

March 20 2013

Representative:  Terumi Kataoka
Vice Representative:  Kyoko Sakai
All Members and Children