Questionnaire Research regarding preschool children in Fukushima
Utsunomiya University International Studies Department and Center for the Multicultural Public Sphere (CMPS), Support Infants, Children, and Pregnant Women of Fukushima (FSP) and Project in Response to Needs of Infants, Children, and Pregnant Women of Fukushima (FnnnP) have supported pregnant women, infants, children and their mothers who wish to evacuate or have already evacuated from Fukushima. From August 2011, the organizations with collaboration with Utsukushima NPO Network (UNN) has conducted questionnaires investigating possibilities of relocation as a result of the nuclear accident and other effects on families with preschool aged children in Fukushima as one of its projects. The following is a summary of the contents and results of the organization’s questionnaire research.
[Subject] Questionnaire investigating how families with preschool children in Fukushima view possibilities of “evacuation” as a result of the nuclear accident. [Purpose] In order to consider means of support including “relocation” as well as understanding the situations and inclinations of families who have preschool children in Fukushima after the nuclear accident. [Method] FSP, UNN and FnnnP designed the questionnaire, and UNN with cooperation from Fukushima Child-support Network distributed and collected this questionnaire from 238 families with preschool children in Fukushima from August 2011 to December 2011. FSP with collaboration FnnnP inserted and consolidated the results, and UNN and FnnnP provided support based on their needs. The sample is biased toward anxious families since the main aim of this questionnaire interview was to provide support to families in need. [Results Summary] 218 of 238 parents remain anxious about raising their children in an environment of radiation contamination. 49 parents want to evacuate to a place where there is a lower level of radiation. 76 parents consider evacuating, however, they have difficulty considering their circumstances. 112 parents would like to get more information about radiation protection and radiation doses. In this research, we found out reasons why they cannot evacuate despite their hopes for evacuation, the reasons why they do not consider evacuating, and necessary support. Moreover, many parents provided their comments including the following: “Government built and used [nuclear plants] with national policy, therefore, the Government should rescue people with national policy. ... To announce that it is safe without scientific proof is prioritizing economics. ... If the Government was accountable, no one would have evacuated on their own expenses as people actually did.” “It seems that it is more important for teachers to finish curriculum than health of children. Who is thinking about children’s health? I realized only parents are.” “More than anything, I worry about children’s future. I want to get more precise information [about radiation].” “My biggest worry is the effects on my two children and my baby (pregnant woman). We are not sure when our health will be affected and our fear continues. I would like the Government not to forget about us spending every day in fear and dread and to continue to pay compensation.”
Translated by Rui Ito Proofread by Andrew Reimann and Kumiko Sakamoto
After the nuclear fallout occurred in Fukushima in the wake of the disasters of 3.11, we became concerned about the influence of radiation on infants, children, and pregnant women in the region, and came together as a group of parents and university faculty members from Tokyo University of Foreign Studies and Utsunomiya University. Along with student volunteers, we began this project in earnest in April, 2011. Since that time we have been contacting evacuees with small children and pregnant women from Fukushima to ascertain their needs and to respond in appropriate and meaningful ways. Some issues have been resolved by simply providing information we have collected about local support that is available, while others have required more extensive help like providing counseling or satisfying basic needs, such as food, housing, clothing, etc., by connecting families with other citizens who can provide donations directly.
We have also provided evacuation information and assistance to families in Fukushima who fear they will suffer bad effects from radiation, but who were unable to leave earlier for various reasons, and have been able to help many families successfully evacuate to Tochigi, Niigata, Tokyo, Miyagi, Saitama, Yamakaga, and other locations.
We have gradually expanded our activities over time, being joined by faculty members from Fukushima University, Ibaragi University, Gunma University, and by additional members at Utsunomiya University (within our sister project "Support Infants, Children, and Pregnant Women of Fukushima"), and have found partners to oversee activities in Niigata, adding up to five “hubs” outside Fukushima. Other individuals and institutions have stepped in to assist the project from time to time. For example, upon learning that many evacuee families in Kanagawa needed assistance with finding jobs, relocation, and legal and health services, the KIT Future Design Institute in Tokyo coordinated with mothers from the Yokohama International School community to collect furnishings and set up job interviews. Evacuees and families in Fukushima have been encouraged to learn that there are so many people who are willing to help, and have found relief by having the opportunity to air their concerns openly.
One successful activity program we have implemented is a series of "tea parties" for evacuees mothers in Tochigi, Ibaragi, Tokyo, Gunma, and Niigata, which provide a supportive atmosphere in which mothers who have been separated from their friends and relatives can relax, exchange information, and make new friends from Fukushima, while students and other volunteers babysit their children. Also, we have recently held an overnight camp in Tochigi for families from Fukushima, and have been supporting camp activities which bring children from Fukushima to Kamogawa in Chiba prefecture, as a strategy to reduce their exposure to radiation.
Since first putting out a call for donations last May, by the end of August, 2011, we had received \955,221 from 47 sources. This is only a little bit short of our goal of one million yen, and we thank everyone sincerely. Since September, 2011, we have expanded our support activities to a total of five "hubs," including support for families who have remained in Fukushima, and we anticipate the need to further increase our preparedness. We are applying for more external funding grants, but at our current pace of activity and funding it will be a challenge to maintain all five of our activity hubs. In this context, we would like to renew our request for your financial support.
How individuals in Japan can donate: 1) If transferring from a "ゆうちょ銀行" (yuucho ginko) ATM: 10050-78784561 「フクシマニュウヨウジニンサンプタイオウ」 （福島乳幼児妊産婦ニーズ対応プロジェクト/"Fukushima nyuujouji-ninsanpu taiou") (Please notify us by email in addition, if possible)
2) When transferring from another bank or ATM: ゆうちょ銀行 (yuucho ginko) Branch number: 019 Branch name:府中紅葉丘(Fuchu Momijigaoka) Checking account number: 0663428 (Please notify us by email in addition, if possible)
3) "Yuubin-furikae koza" (where transfer is made in person at the post office) 00100-2-663428 福島乳幼児妊産婦ニーズ対応プロジェクト ( Fukushima nyuuyouji ninsanpu niizu taiou purojekuto ) Please include your name, address, and any message.
Project in support of the needs of infants and pregnant women of Fukushima "Fukushima nyuuyouji ninsanpu niizu taiou purojekuto" Funada-Classen Laboratory Tokyo Univ. of Foreign Studies 3-11-1 Asahi-machi, Fuchuu-shi Tokyo 〒183-8534 Phone/fax (direct): 042-330-5260 email: Fukushimaneeds <@> gmail.com Project blog: http://fukushimaneeds.blog50.fc2.com/
Em resposta das dificuldades das m醇Ies e crian醇Mas em Fukushima, o projeto tem por finalidade oferecer informa醇M醇Io sobre servi醇Mos de apoio para aqueles que moran perto das zonas afetadas. Caso voc醇S mora nestas 醇@reas e necessita de informa醇M醇Io em rela醇M醇Io ao apoio para m醇Ies e crian醇Mas, por favor entre em contato com membros do projeto ao seguinte endere醇Mo eletronico. email@example.com
En respuesta a las dificultades que enfrentan las madres y ni醇oos en Fukushima, el proyecto tiene por finalidad ofrecer informaci醇pn sobre servicios de apoyo para aquellos que viven cerca de las zonas afectadas. Si usted vive en esas 醇@reas y desea informaci醇pn relacionada con el apoyo para madres y ni醇oos, por favor cont醇@ctese con los miembros del proyecto a la siguiente direcci醇pn de correo electr醇pnico. firstname.lastname@example.org
【English】 Support Infants, Children and Pregnant Women in Fukushima
In response to the difficulties faced by mothers and children in Fukushima, the project aims to offer information on support services for those living in the afflicted areas. If you live in the affected areas and would like information regarding support for mothers and children, please contact project members at the following email address. email@example.com