Speech presented for Hizumi Award

On December 15, 2017, we awarded the Hizumi Prize.
Here is our speech on that day.

 Speech by Hidetake Ishimaru

My name is Hidetake Ishimaru and I'm one of the representatives of Minna no Data Site. I'm greatly honored and thankful that we have received the Grand Prize of the 2017 Kazuo Hizumi Promotion of Information Distribution Award out of all the many outstanding activities. 

Minna no Data Site is a network type organization consisting presently of 34 citizen’s radiation measurement labs all over Japan. The accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant in 2011 drove people to open these labs and start their activities and they spread from Hokkaido up north to Kyushu down south.

We started up Minna no Data Site in September of 2013. Our objective was to gather the radiation measurement data that each lab had accumulated onto the same platform and to provide people with accurate and easy to understand information. Presently, we have registered about 14,000 measured data of food and more than 3,400 measured data of soil samples. Further, this fall, we started a site where you can search and find data for environmental samples, such as ashes and mulch. I would be happy if you look up our site and see for yourselves.

Talking about the standard value for food, at first, the government set the provisional standard as 500Bq per kg and afterwards lower it down to 100Bg/kg. However, there is a cause for concern because the figure is questionable. Even before the accident, the standard value for low-level radioactive wastes, which should be kept in an yellow oil can, was 100Bg, the same as food.  This is the present situation. The many citizens that are living in this unfortunate reality with great concern for their children requested for the radiation measurement data. The datum was gathered and registered here and became a very precious and the only source that people could refer to. One cannot find such information elsewhere and since we started it up, people are using it as one of their references in their daily lives. For example, if you have difficulty deciding what is safe to buy at a supermarket, just look it up with your smart phone, etc.

As you see, Minna no Data Site started out by visualizing the data on food, but we recognized the significance of visualizing the contamination of soil as well, and thus, we launched the “East Japan Soil Becquerel Measurement Project” in the fall of 2014. (4 : projection of soil map) Allow me to briefly explain to you about the “soil project” since it was through the recognition of this project that we received this award.

The “soil project” was executed throughout a vast range of sample collecting area covering 17 prefectures and city of east Japan, from Aomori up north to Nagano and Shizuoka down south. The same method was used to collect soil samples at every collection site and the radiation was measured by becquerel. 
 We started this project by measuring and mapping the average contamination rate of each area as accurately as possible, by eliminating the micro hot spots where the contamination is extremely high and the places that already have been decontaminated or cleaned with low contamination. We conducted our measurement at the height of 5cm above ground so that the results could be compared with the measurements by the Ministry of Education and those by Chernobyl.

In order to maintain the same method of collecting soil, we made a cartoon style manual and held over 100 seminars throughout the area giving instructions on the methods of collection. Cumulative total number of collection volunteers were over 4000 in the 3 years and over 3400 soil samples were collected and measured and mapped.

In the Ukraine and Belarus, national budget was spent respectively for mapping the soil contamination nationwide, where as in Japan, a thorough soil measurement of the whole east Japan area has not yet been conducted by the government, only estimation derived from the air dose radiation rate measured by screening taken from airplanes. “If the government won’t do it, why don’t we?”  And so, the project started with almost no budget.

Before we actually started, many of us felt that it is unrealistic to conduct measurement of such vast area as the whole of east Japan. However, just as many of us felt sure that we could get support from the citizens and that we owe it to them to start it up. We realized and accepted the fact that if the government is incapable or doing anything, who else but us with the biggest network of citizen’s measurement labs are best equipped to do it.

We faced a lot of difficulty until the soil sample collection and measurement went on orbit. At first, we had a blank map before us and little by little, the number of collected samples increased. Along with that, we needed to closely determine the objective number of samples, bearing in mind, the population, the size, and the air dosage rate of each area. We wanted to fill in the blank map of each prefecture and city as evenly as possible. The measurement site extended not only to urban areas, but also to remote rural areas and deep in the mountains. There were places that were very hard to get to by foot. We had a variety of volunteers, those who worked in groups, those who worked on their own and collected many samples, those who were willing to go on a forced march, etc. Each dot on this map is a fruit of all the effort of so many people.

So, as you can see, this map was created through very painstaking sample collection and distribution to measurement labs nationwide and also through laborious and time-consuming work of data input. I do not want to boast, but this map is extremely valuable and I can say with confidence that it is a fruit of an activity to share and distribute “unprejudiced information” by the power of the people, which is in truth the principle of this Hizumi Award. I am honored to receive this award to share with the 34 measurement labs and with the 4,000 people who collected the samples, and to everybody who supported us and helped us finance this activity. Please allow me to use this opportunity to express my gratitude towards them.

In the Ukraine and Belarus contaminated by highly concentrated radiation caused by the Chernobyl accident in 1986, national budget was spent respectively, for mapping the soil contamination nationwide.
The data obtained is utilized as a standard for determining the amount of compensation etc. in the Chernobyl Laws laid down after 5 years from the accident. 

On the other hand, what has our government done?  In March 2017, this year, after 6 years from the accident, the government has not only neglected to lay down laws to acknowledge those subject to compensation, but went on and forced the discontinuation of housing allowances.  The Chernobyl Laws determined the area of compensation both by annual effective dose (Sv) and by soil contamination dose (Bq which at the start was Ci) but here in Japan, the annual dose of 20mSv, which is an outrageous amount, is the standard of tolerance dose. This is 20 times as much as the limit of public exposure dose and 4 times more than the annual 5mSv, the amount that individuals engaged in radiation work are eligible for recognition as having an occupational disease. It deprives people’s rights for compensation of evacuation, etc. and should be considered inhumane.

There are many factors to the contamination status and therefore it is not easy to make a comparison in general, but if we go by the Chernobyl Laws, the orange points on the map are areas that evacuation rights should be granted, and the red points are where evacuation is recommended. In Japan, because only a very high standard annual dose rate of 20mSv is set, there are no residential restrictions even in these contaminated areas. “Moving” or “recuperation” decisions were passed over as “done with self -responsibility” as the minister for reconstruction, Mr. Imamura put in his own words. We needed to conduct a thorough soil measurement and our continuous efforts were to provide a potential solution to this situation where people had to accept the ill-treatment of living in a contaminated area under the name of “self- responsibility.” Please refer to the comparison chart with the Chernobyl standard that we handed out.

Fortunately, the measurement results of food show that the transfer of contamination to crops and farm produce show tendency to be minimal, excluding the contamination caused right after the accident. This is due to the argillaceous characteristic of Japanese soil. On the other side, however, there are many cases where contaminations of wild mushrooms, wild vegetables, wild animals such as boar and fresh water fish rate high. The contamination of soil and the environment extends to widespread area of east Japan Also, the contaminated trees used as firewood and burnt producing ashes are continuous serious causes for concern.

The half-life period of Cs-134 is 2 years and relatively short. At present, it is reduced to 10 % of the original dosage right after the accident. On the other hand, the half-life period of Cs-137 is 30 years and it will be around for quite a long time to come. 

You can see clearly in this map we have made that its amount will not completely attenuate even after several years. It is a type of radiation that cannot be seen, smelled of tasted, but we must not forget that the contamination exists and continue to take measures against it.

It is obvious that we need an outline or a framework to cope with this domestic nuclear-power related severe accident like the Chernobyl Laws laid down by the Ukraine, Chernobyl and Russia. Nevertheless, our country continues to emphasize the notion through new reports and presentations, that this accident is taken care of and that there are no more serious contamination influences.

We feel it is our responsibility to continue and reinforce our efforts to dispatch information of objective data so the “true reality” can be visualized by everybody. We aspire to continue our activities so that we can all learn from the 2011 accident and also be of service to the individuals who still suffer from the aftermath.

The reception of this award has truly given us so much strength. With such encouragement, we are ready to continue moving on forward.

 I’d like to end my speech with a heartfelt “Thank you” from every one of us at Minna no Data Site. Thank you very much.


Winner of the Grand Prize for 2017 Kazuo Hizumi Promotion of Information Distribution Award

 We are pleased to announce that great honor has given upon us.

Kazuo Hizumi Promotion of Information Distribution Award was founded to recognize the efforts and throws light onto the media, journalists and private individuals engaged in the field of information communication whose activities are focused on the freedom of expression, the disclosure of information and people’s rights to know. The grand prize award for 2017 was decided to be awarded to Minna no Data Site Project. This project has been conducting measurements and accumulations of soil that have been contaminated by the effect of
the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. It was recognized for the summarization and disclosure of scientific data accumulated from a wide-spread contaminated area of 17 prefectures and city in East Japan, in ways that were understand comprehensible to everybody.

The encouragement award was given to Mr. Takashi Ozaki, a photographer who repeatedly gathered information about the members of SEALDs (Students Emergency Action for Liberal Democracy.) The special award went respectively, to Mr. Makoto Kimura, a city council member of the city of Toyonaka, for his repeated disclosure of information pertaining to the Morimoto Gakuen Scandal, and to Ms. Miyuki Ohara, who is the original proposer of “Kokkai Ondoku” which is a means to read aloud the questions and answers in the Diet on conspiracy that don’t quite bite evenly.

Grand Prize Award : “Minna no Data Site activities (co-representatives : Mr. Hidetake Ishimaru, Mr. Hiromi Abe, Ms. Shoko Onuma)

Encouragement Award : Information gathering on SEALDs members (Mr. Takashi Ozaki)

Special Award : Investigation an information disclosure pertaining to Morimoto Gakuen Scandal (Mr. Makoto Kimura)

Special Award : “Kokkai Ondoku” Activity (Ms. Miyuki Ohara)

Awarding Ceremony
Date : Friday, December 15th (18:30~)
Place : Hibiya Convention Hall
(1-4, Hibiya Koen, Chiyoda-ku)

The Fifth Kazuo Hizumi Promotion of Information Distribution Award : List of Recipients

Grand Prize Award ( given to 1 party, extra prize 300,000 yen)
Activities of “Minna no Data Site”(co-representative: Mr. Hidetake Ishimaru, Mr. Hiromi Abe, Ms. Shoko Ohnuma)

Reason for the Awarding

Minna no Data Site conducted a public participation style project by involving the citizens to collect, measure and accumulate the soil that are contaminated by radioactive substances caused by the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant, and plotting the result data on the map for easy comprehension. This project was chosen for the intelligible disclosure of scientific data constantly standing on the people’s side. The contamination data accumulated and disclosed were derived from soil collected by the hands of the citizens that were widely called upon, from a widespread area of 17 prefectures and city.


Report: The celebration of completion the soil measurement project-March 26, 2017

Event report on the celebration of completion the soil measurement project-March 26, 2017

Thank you! A report of the celebration even of completion the soil measurement project.

We held “Thank you! 3000 samples completed for East Japan Soil Measurement Project report” at Yoyogi Olyimpic center in 26th March 2017.

For 2 and half years, we have conducted free charge measurement for soil samples from 17 prefectures in the North East side of Japan. Thank you so much for your support financially and also collecting the soil samples.

Finally, we have achieved to create a map of cesium contamination level in those areas by measuring more than 3,000 soil samples. We would like to show our sincere appreciation for your all, so we organised reporting and sharing event.

On the day, it was raining but approx. 150 people joined us.

Out of 33 measurement stations that belongs to “Minnna no Data Site (MDS)”, 13 measurement station joined us. Also 11 guest organisation which have been working to protect children from radiation have joined us and held their own booth. Below is the report of the event.

2 and half years of development of the Soil measurement project: introduction of the measurement stations

We introduced the history of MDS and how the project was carried out using slide presentation. Also we introduced 13 measurement stations which joined us on the day.

Some of the feedback we received from the participants were “I was impressed to meet all the people who is involved in this activities” and “I could understand how the project has developed and spread out”.

Introduction of the measurement stations

Hokkaido from the North to Onomichi from the South have gathered here

Tho it was a short time, we could share the different situations of measurement stations by regions.

Introduction of the guest organisation booths and mingling and purchasing time 

After the introduction of the guest organisation and what they have in their booth, we held mingling time. Many people enjoyed buying DVD, books and cute items from the booths.

● http://nuu-nuu.com/ 
● http://3tasu1.com/
● http://fbsnetwork.com/
● http://kodomozenkoku.com/
● http://www.nuketext.org/
● https://zendamafes.wordpress.com/think-to/
● http://www.kuminosato.com/
● http://www.lab-asunaro.jp/
●Higashi-rinkan Radiation measurement station
●Minnano data site

all of the profits from the crafts go into recreation project 

Guest organisations introducing their booklets

Nuu’s mini concert 

A small concert was held by singer Nuu and Guiter who sang ending song for “Little Voices from Fukushima” directed by Hitomi Kamanaka.

We could feel the preciousness of lives, sweetness of moments of life by listening to their music.

One of the staff members Nakamura said that she could remember this past 6 years in blink of moment.  She recalled “how she started to get involved in this movement and why she is standing here today”, and remembered “all the uncertainty and determination caused by the accident”. There are so many injustice in the society, but she could received power to still keep holding on by listening to the beautiful voice and melody, and she shed some tears.

 A gentle singing by Nuu was applaused by the audience 

Presentation of “soil contamination map” by Director Hitomi Kamanaka and Secretary general Ishimaru

We have carried out this project for 2 and half years over 17 prefectures.

We could gather more than 3,000 soil samples that contributed to data of contamination by cesium in soil. We created prediction map that could tell the situation in 2011 and predictions for 100 years later. Also we compared to situation in Chernobyl and the difference between evacuation standard line in Russia and Japan.

As a outcome of the project we released speculation map of cesium contamination in 2011 until next 100 years. We are working to English version of the map by the end of 2017.

Director Kamanaka talked about the situation around children with thyroid cancer in Fukushima. She also talked about how diseases are increasing in Kanto Area which she heard directly from a nurse. We are waiting for the accurate data from statistics and science. She discussed about how iodine was not distributed to people, and the response by the government at the time.

Soil measurement project by MDS was started by civilians because the government did not put effort in researching and disclosing the informations about the soil contamination. At the end, Ishimaru concluded by saying “Today is not the ending, but the starting point. From now we will discuss and co-operate to think wisely about how to use this data and spread them”.
We received many feedbacks. Here are some of them; “I could understand the importance of knowing the contamination situation well.” or “I could find out many information that I didn’t know”.

Left: secretary general Hidetake Ishimaru Right: Our guest, director Hitomi Kamanaka

A talk by a person who has self-evacuated 

2nd popular content of the day was talk from the evacuee.

There are not many chance where we can listen to evacuee from Fukushima. Also the compensation for self-evacuee by the government which made the rent free of charge was about to be cut in 31st March. In this very busy schedule, she agreed to come and talk. 

Mrs Naoko Suzuki evacuated temporally from Iwaki city to Hachioji, Tokyo at midnight of 15th March, 2011. Then someone offered them to stay with them in Saitama, so they moved there.

In the beginning she evacuated with her 2 daughters thinking it will only be for 3 months, so her partner went back to Fukushima. However, single parent evacuation lasted for 2 years.

Family home which they have only been living for 8 years had to be sold after a very tough decision.

Her partner found a job in Saitama, so the family is united again and living together now. However, in Iwaki city, there is a tradition for the oldest son to stay and inherit the household, so only 3 family evacuated out of 600 students in a school, and now only Suzuki’s family is evacuating.

Everyday they live in the guilt for running away, and the longing for the hometown, that lead into hardship of not being able to be honest with each other among family.

However, among all the evacuee, only 20% of them have returned to their hometown, which proves that many of them have feeling that it is still not safe. In that sense, the map’s data helps think about the safety.

Among 370,000 people, 187 children was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. However, the Fukushima government is trying to minimise the need for health check ups. She said “I cannot forgive the response from them. It is important to take action towards what has already happened, so I will study more and I want to raise voice based on concrete data”.  The memorable phrase she said was, “Children are treasure, but parents are also treasure. Evacuee also deserve to be happy. We already reach that time. I would like to keep my head up and keep holding on”.

About Environmental concentrated bequel measuring project

The East Soil Measuring Project did not include micro hotspot. It was to analyze normal contamination level in each region by creating the map. However, it is impossible to ignore the issues raised by micro hotspots that is prevalent throughout North-East Japan.

From now on, with the support from Hotspot Investigators for Truth (HIT), we will launch “Environmental concentrated bequel measuring project” to measure and disclose datas of micro hotspots.
This project causes risks on health by inhaling exposure when gathering and measuring high level contamination soil, so we are not asking for public to collect the soil.

We will raise awareness of what kinds of places are likely to be hotspot through easy pictures on the website. Website will be released around this May.

features of places/conditions that are likely to accumulate cecium
Under rain drainage (2) puddle (3) roadside (4)edge of parking area (5) inside of gutter (6)lower part of steep slope (7) planter (8)near the roots of tree (9)walls beside buildings (10) black substances: those lichen or blue-green algae on the sides of roads (11)moss (12)dusts

What’s next for MDS

●We will produce soil contamination map

In september, we are planning to publishing finalized version of map with explanations of each regions including missing regions.

●We will renew our website, so that it will be easier to understand and use. 

We will created in the way so it is easier to see the results from the projects, and look at the contamination situation in the past, present and future.

●We will add more explanations about meanings of numerical results. We aspire to provide website that can offer users to have their own safety threshold towards the contamination situation, and use the data on the website in their daily life. 

●We will continue to encourage people to use data effectively. 

Also we would like to value the connection we made through this project. We are planning on hosting more events that will gather us together again to think about evacuation, compensation, recreation and protecting children. If you have any ideas, please share them with us.


Below are the organisation who supported to host this event and our daily activities through their funding.
LUSH Japan https://jn.lush.com/
Act Beyond Trust http://www.actbeyondtrust.org/
The Takagi Funds for Citizen Science http://www.takagifund.org/

We thank you deeply to those of you who donated to us directly, through the cloud funding and share and support our project.

We are not finished yet. From now on, we will move on to spread what the data is showing to us.
We look forward working with you more.