Background of its Foundation

On March 11th, 2011, the Great East Japan Earthquake triggered the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Disaster. Two months later, in May, a monthly magazine, DAYS JAPAN, initiated a ‘fund-raising campaign to help provide radiation measurement instruments’ to the effected areas, and together with the Fukushima Children’s Fund, that was established by the volunteers from the Chernobyl Children’s Fund, we delivered a number of food radiation monitors and whole-body counters to citizen’s groups in Fukushima Prefecture. This resulted in the establishment of at least six citizen’s radioactivity measuring stations.

Subsequently, in October, DAYS JAPAN set up the Days Japan Support Fund for the Children of Fukushima and initiated a recuperation project for the child victims of the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster. Its activities included support for food radioactivity monitoring stations and assisting in the establishment of recuperation centers, utilizing the experience gained through its work with the victims of the Chernobyl Disaster.

Our efforts to find a venue for the center received support from numerous people and were finally rewarded when the former governor of Okinawa, OTA Masahide, introduced us Kume Island. Kume Island is situated approximately 100 kilometers west of Okinawa’s main island and takes three and a half hours by ferry or less than thirty minutes by aircraft to reach from there.

The site is a former pottery studio (799 Yamagusuku, Oaza, Kumejimacho) and contains four buildings: Main Building, Annex, Gallery and Pyramid (former climbing kiln).

The view from here includes Eef Beach, which has been selected as one of Japan’s One Hundred Most Beautiful Beaches, and Hate-no-hama, a sand beach on a coral reef that is the longest in the orient, while from verandah the sun can be seen rising from the ocean.

On a sunny day Tonaki Island, Kerama Islands and Zamami Island can be seen.

A press conference was held in March 2012 to announce the foundation of a recuperation project for Fukushima children that was attended by the mayor of Kume Island and artist/musician ISHII Tatsuya. Work began immediately to refurbish the buildings and on July 5th when the center opened, receiving the first group of fifty-one, consisting of Fukushima children and their guardians.

The number of children and guardians we have accommodated up until November 2012 is as follows (with estimate for the 17th group):

 

Term Children Guardians Total Number
1st Jul 5-20 ’12 32 19 51
2nd Jul26-Aug10 46 2 48
3rd Aug20-30 36 7 43
4th Sep11-26 18 14 32
5th Oct11-24 28 17 45
6th Nov7-22 25 8 33
7th Dec25-Jan5 ’13 45 0 45
8th Jan23-Feb7’13 27 15 42
9th Feb21-Mar8 28 17 45
10th Mar23-Apr3 45 0 45
11th Apr23-May7 32 9 41
12th May28-Jun11 25 14 39
13th Jun25-Jul10 28 12 40
14th Jul21-Aug1 46 0 46
15th Aug12-23 45 0 45
16th Sep19-Oct2 27 12 39
17th Oct21-Nov3 30 17 47
18th Nov20-Dec3 23 11 34
19th Dec19-27 43 0 43
20th Jan1-9 ’14 29 0 29
21st Jan23-Feb4 25 17 42
22nd Feb22-Mar3 28 16 44
23rd Mar23-April3 44 0 44
24th Aril13―22 30 16 46
25th May1―10 31 12 43
26th May20―29 27 13 40
27th June22―July1 29 17 46
28th July15―July24 43 0 43
29th July30―Aug7 42 0 42
30th Aug15―Aug24 43 0 43
31st Sep13-Sep22 21 16 37
32nd Oct2-Oct11 22 16 38
33rd Oct22-Oct29 31 15 46
34th Nov9-Nov16 35 0 35
35th Nov26-Dec5 22 8 30
36th Dec24-Dec30 53 0 53
37th Jan3,2015-Jan9 54 0 54
38th Jan21-Jan30 30 15 45
39th Feb9-Feb18 24 13 37
40th Mar3―Mar12 33 17 50
41st Mar23―April2 55 0 55
42nd April13-April22 32 20 52
43rd April28-May7 52 13 65
44th May14-May23 29 16 45
Total 1,493 414 1,907


We tried to establish a recuperation facility based on the model of ‘Hope 21’ immediately following the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Disaster, but faced with various difficulties, we were only able to invite elementary and junior high school students during school holidays and children of preschool age and younger with their mothers during school terms. However, we will finally be able to start the ‘study camp’ from the next school term and with this, we plan to expand the capacity of the accommodation facility from 50 to almost 100.
Furthermore, we plan to hold a type of ‘study camp’ for Fukushima schoolchildren from April 2013. This ‘study camp’ will adopt the pattern developed by the ‘Hope 21’ recuperation center that was established in Belarus for children afflicted by the Chernobyl Disaster, and which we have supported for more than twenty years. Classes from schools in the radiation-contaminated areas will spend three weeks at this camp together with their teachers.It is completely free for the children and after the second group guardians only have to pay for their own airfare.