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Group Introduction

Fukushima Poka-Poka Project

by OKANO Mika*

Inawashiro nature tour
    The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011 contaminated many areas in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. The national government adopted the policy of attempting to decontaminate these areas by removing radioactive substances. The areas include densely populated parts of Fukushima City, which are severely contaminated but have not been officially designated as mandatory evacuation zones.
   “We sincerely wish that at least children could evacuate to a safe place and stay there until the decontamination work starts and its effects become apparent.” In response to such voices from local residents, the Fukushima Poka-Poka Project (named after a Japanese onomatopoeia indicating warmth) was established as an organizer of getaway programs which took the families, both parents and children, living in relatively high-dose areas in Fukushima Prefecture to the Tsuchiyu Hot Springs and Tsuchiyu Tōge Hot Springs resorts, both of which are located in Fukushima Prefecture but have a low air dose. The programs received favorable comments from the participants, who said they enjoyed staying in the relaxed, low-dose environment. Due to the geographical proximity of the resorts from the contaminated areas where the families lived, participants could easily make the round trip to the resorts by car over a weekend, and thus traveling fatigue was low.

    In addition to the short-stay programs in Fukushima Prefecture, we organized collaboration programs with the citizens’ group Minami-Bōsō Youth Camp in Chiba Prefecture. Using the summer and winter school vacations, we organized short-stay programs of four days and three nights in Minami-Bōsō City. Children from Fukushima were able to play freely outdoors and enjoy the natural beauty of Chiba. The total number of participants in our programs has exceeded 3,000. To provide information, we also organize informative lectures on an as-needed basis.

    A short-stay program using a shared house located in Inawashiro Town, Fukushima Prefecture, is currently underway. The house is located in a less contaminated area. During the previous programs in the Tsuchiyu Hot Springs resorts, participants were able to enjoy leisurely stays in hot-spring inns. At the shared house in Inawashiro Town, the program is slightly different. Unlike stays at inns, lodgers at the shared house prepare their meals together. Therefore we request program participants to join in with the meal preparation and dish washing. In the programs using inns, only a part of the food ingredients used for meals was selected by us. At the shared house, however, the meals are prepared entirely from ingredients we have selected. The joint meal preparation and dish washing provides a good opportunity for friendly exchanges among participants, and some participants say that children look forward to cooking together, which we are pleased to hear. Thanks to support from local residents in Inawashiro Town, we put on nature tours, including a visit to Lake Inawashiro, which participants also enjoy very much.

    The Fukushima Poka-Poka Project makes continued efforts to organize better short-stay programs. Currently we are making preparations for a short-stay program in Chiba Prefecture in August. Applications for participation are coming in for the summer program as well as autumn programs. We also plan to organize short stays at hot-spring inns during the winter.

    The  Fukushima Poka-Poka Project is made possible through donations from the general public. We would very much appreciate your kind support by asking you to donate any sum that you can easily afford.

Please send your donations to our bank accounts at:

Beneficiary Bank: THE TOHO BANK,LTD.
Branch: Head Office
Beneficiary Bank Address: 3-25, Oo-machi,  Fukushima-Shi, Fukushima 960-8633, Japan
Payee Account Number: 101-3697748
Name of Payee Account Holder: WATARI THUCHIYU POKA POKA PROJECT Daihyo KANNO Yoshihiro
Payee Address: 101, SoleadoⅠ, 95-2, Iwasaki-cho, Watari, Fukushima-Shi, Fukushima 960-8141, Japan
Payee Telephone Number: 090-3982-6393

Fukushima Poka-Poka Project Blog (in Japanese)

Please write to us at if you would like to receive more information.

* Coordinator of Fukushima Poka-Poka Project

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Citizens' Nuclear Information Center
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Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, 162-0065, Japan