Group Intro: Everyone’s Data Site
Collective Database of Citizens’ Radioactivity Measuring Labs
by Nakamura Nahoko, Secretariat, Everyone’s Data Site
Compiling the radioactivity data measured by citizens’ labs throughout Japan, Everyone’s Data Site allows users to retrieve and list radioactivity measurements data online. It is also the name of the network of labs established nationwide by volunteers after the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011. (31 member labs as of January 2020)
Everyone’s Data Site opened in 2013 in response to voices wanting to retrieve the radioactivity information they wished to see from all the data collected, and is based on the members’ desire to compile and preserve measurement records in an integrated database.
To ensure the accuracy of the data registered in the Data Site, the site has developed its own accuracy certification system, to which all member labs are required to conform.
When established in 2013, the Data Site compiled the measurements of food products. In the following year, the network launched a large-scale soil measurement project.
When two years had passed after the disaster, the Japanese government showed no sign of willingness to conduct extensive surveys of soil radioactivity. The half-life of cesium 134 is two years. After this it becomes more difficult to detect Cs134 and it would become more difficult to prove that the measured radioactive substances were from the Fukushima disaster. Even if we could detect Cs137 for example, which has a longer half-life, it may be from Chernobyl or sources other than Fukushima Daiichi, so we needed to collect data in a hurry.
We had no financial base. While collecting donations, we were committed to the project of sampling soil from a wide extent of land for three years and six months between 2014 and 2017 using standardized soil-sampling rules, such as sampling soil at a depth of 5 cm, according to the methods used in Chernobyl research. Helped by 4,000 volunteers, we surveyed 3,400 locations in 17 prefectures across Eastern Japan.
Analyzing the results of the measurements and compiling them into a book took a year. We independently released this 200-page book, including contamination maps and commentaries. No other book compares to it in terms of the scale of analysis of food and soil conducted using a scientific approach. To produce a book easily understandable to everyone, rather than a book for an academic readership, we used many diagrams and illustrations, giving each page a different full color layout. We are proud to say that there is no similar book in the world.
The reason we issued a full-fledged book having an international standard book number instead of a mere printed compilation (in the form of a bulletin) was not that we planned to sell it at bookstores but that we wanted to have it archived at the Japanese National Diet Library, enabling us to ensure that the evidence of the nuclear disaster would definitely survive into the future. Frankly, we did not expect the book would sell.
However, unexpectedly, it has sold well! The book attracted significant public attention. We received bulk orders for 100 copies or 200 copies every day. Eventually we were sold out and hurriedly ordered a second printing. During the 2018 Christmas and New Year’s holidays, we were sending out copies day in day out, and after a month, with the assistance of a supporter, the book became available at bookstores and online stores such as Amazon.
In one year, the book went into a fifth printing, selling 18,000 copies. The lab members and secretariat staff have been traveling all around the nation, giving lectures to inform people about the actualities of contamination due to the nuclear disaster and how to protect ourselves. In autumn 2019, we issued a 20-page English-language booklet, Citizens’ Radiation Data Map of Japan — Digest Edition.
This booklet is available internationally. It can be ordered from the Amazon Japan site (Amazon.co.jp), which offers language choices including English and international shipping. We can handle direct sales as well if reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Payment is handled through PayID in this case. For details of the booklet and how to purchase it, please visit: en.minnanods.net/mds/e-digest.html/
We will certainly be continuing to record and disseminate the facts using the citizens’ scientist approach to hold out against the Japanese government, which has been behaving as if there had been no nuclear disaster.