Tourizing Fukushima: The Fukuichi Kanko Project(Shisouchizu beta vol. 4-2)

思想地図svol.4-2 福島第一原発観光地化計画

Content Description

As its title suggests, this volume is a proposal to “tourize” the site of and the area around the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, which saw a major accident in March 2011, for the sake of later generations. By “tourize,” we mean opening the site of the accident to tourists so that anyone who wants to can visit the location. The concept of tourism is not used here in a simplistic way to mean something like creating an amusement park and building bathhouses.

(Hiroki Azuma, "What is the Fukuichi Kanko Project?")

The sequel to the Chernobyl Dark Tourism Guide, which ranked in Amazon's overall top 10 and was the #1 humanities book at many major bookstores such as Kinokuniya Shoten and Aoyama Book Center!

2013: What is Happening in Fukushima? (Section 1, "Creating Systems")
2020: What Must Tokyo do for Fukushima? (Section 2, "Creating Paths")
2036: How Should Fukushima be Opened to the World? (Section 3, "Creating Desire")

This book also includes a supplemental section that features a follow-up report for the Chernobyl Dark Tourism Guide, as well as a collection of documents describing both public and private reconstruction proposals for Fukushima.

At 192 full color pages full of photos and figures, Tourizing Fukushima: The Fukuichi Kanko Project is even larger than its predecessor. At last, you can learn all about the "Fukuichi Kanko Project" that has created a stir on TV and in newspapers!


Fukuichi Kanko Project Digest

10 Questions

The Choice of 50,000 Yahoo! Japan Users

What is the Fukuichi Kanko Project? Hiroki Azuma

Is the Fukuichi Kanko Project "Right"? Masayoshi Hisada + Daisuke Tsuda + Hiroki Azuma

[Section 1, Creating Systems]

Learning About the Reality of Tourization Hiroki Azuma

Going to Tomioka Hiroki Azuma + Editorial Team

Guiding Reality Dai Fujita

Going to Namie Hiroki Azuma + Editorial Team

Seeing the Disaster Site Generates Responsibility  Masafumi Ishida

Going to Minamisoma Hiroki Azuma + Editorial Team

Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Coverage as Tour  Tetsuomi Sukeda

The History of Chernobyl's Tourization Yoko Ueda

Fostering Guides Akira Ide

Preparing Food Hiroki Kainuma

We can Create Safe Agricultural Products Ryota Koyama

Transmitting Memories Hidenori Watanabe 

The Artificial Sharing of Experience Naotaka Fujii

The Future of Tourization Hiroshi Kainuma

Photographing Fukushima Kenshu Shintsubo

[Section 2, Creating Paths]

Creating a Road to the Disaster Area Hiroki Azuma

Making the Joban Line the Axis of the Disaster-related Community Ryuji Fujimura

Create a Hazard Center in Tokyo! Akira Ide

Hold a Recovery Exhibition in the J-Village! Ryuji Fujimura

Make Fukushima the Mecca of Disaster Education! Hiroki Komazaki

How do we Design the Next 25 Years? Ryuji Fujimura

What can the International City of Tokyo do? Inose Naoki

Build a Disaster Recovery Agricultural Center Koji Fujita

Creating a Base in the Disaster Area Daisuke Tsuda + Hiroki Azuma

[Section 3, Creating Desire]

Creating a New "Fukushima" Hiroki Azuma

Site Zero Fukichi Kanko Project Study Group

A Tragic Heritage that will Last for Generations Hiroshi Tasaka

Create a Sarcophagus and Entrust the Plant to the Future Satoru Sato

Fukushima in 2036 Viewed from Radiation Levels Yuichi Kojima

Fukushima Gate Village Fukichi Kanko Project Study Group

Creating a "Gate Village" Open to the Future Ryuji Fujimura

Tsunami Tower Kazuki Umezawa

The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Accident Museum Akira Ide

The Municipal Problem-solving Center Daisuke Tsuda

Recovery Beach Dome Kenro Hayamizu

Our Approach to Curves Ryuji Fujimura

Neo-Omatsuri Plaza Kazuki Umezawa

Tohoku Recovery Graduate Center Hiroshi Kainuma

Hotels and Shopping Malls Kenro Hayamizu

Miraikan Fukushima Branch Ryo Shimizu

A New Underground Joban Line Station Ryuji Fujimura

Green Tourism Village Hiroshi Kainuma

Minamisoma Special IT Zone Ryo Shimizu

The Economy of Tohoku from a Tourism Point of View Maki Shoji

Does Fukushima Require Mobilization? Hajime Yatsuka + Ryuji Fujimura + Hiroki Azuma

4 Fragments Regarding Fukushima Gate Village Ryuji Fujimura

Build a Spaceport in Fukushima! Takafumi Horie + Kazuhiko Hachiya

Nuclear Plant Operation Maps, 2011/2036


From Fukushima to Chernobyl Yoko Ueda + Hiroshi Kainuma

Thinking from the Point of View of Dark Tourism Akira Ide

Reading Dark TourismAkira Ide

Fukushima Recovery Plan Document Collection Taro Igarashi + Tohoku University, Igarashi Lab

One Year of the Fukuichi Kanko Project Noriyasu Tokuhisa

The Future the Kanko Project can Bring Kensuke Tadano

How to Make Fukushima Something "Personal" Maki Nitto

We Can't Run from Area Reconstruction Yoshiyuki Ishizaki

Encounters Create Waves Happy & Sunny

At the End of the Journey Hiroki Azuma

What is the Fukuichi Kanko Project? Hiroki Azuma

We bring you Tourizing Fukushima: The Fukuichi Kanko Project.

As its title suggests, this volume is a proposal to “tourize” the site of and the area around the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, which saw a major accident in March 2011, for the sake of later generations. By “tourize,” we mean opening the site of the accident to tourists so that anyone who wants to can visit the location. The concept of tourism is not used here in a simplistic way to mean something like creating an amusement park and building bathhouses.

We, the Japanese people, are obligated to spread proper information about the facts of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident and the recovery efforts that have followed to the world, and to pass as much of this information as possible down to later generations. In order to do this, I believe that the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant as well as the areas around it should be open to and accepting of not only researchers and journalists, but the general public as well. The act of being open to and accepting of the general public, or in other words, attracting visitors, is one kind of “tourization.” If the public is able to visit yet no one goes, opening the area is meaningless. With this in mind, we at Genron invited outside specialists and formed a study group in fall 2012 [★1]. We then spent more than a year visiting, interviewing, and researching this topic. This book collects our results.

Members of this team, including myself, went to inspect the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the spring of 2013. Twenty-five years before the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, a similarly grave accident occurred there. It and its surrounding areas are now actively accepting tourists. The results of this trip have already been published as the Chernobyl Dark Tourism Guide, a sister publication to this book. Through detailed investigation and multiple interviews, it shows why Chernobyl became “tourized,” the different intents held by people involved, and how victims of Chernobyl feel about this state of affairs.

If you are interested in the proposal put forth by this book, I recommend you read the Chernobyl Dark Tourism Guide as well.

★1 The Fukuichi Kanko Project study group was founded by creator Hiroki Azuma, journalist Daisuke Tsuda, sociologist Hiroshi Kainuma, architect Ryuji Fujimura, artist Kazuki Umezawa, writer Kenro Hayamizu, and businessperson Ryo Shimizu in September 2012. Tourism studies researcher Akira Ide later joined the group, and it currently consists of these 8 members. The Fukuichi Kanko Project introduced in this book is, fundamentally, a proposal by these 8 individuals. While many writers appear in this book, they are not necessarily closely familiar with the Fukuichi Kanko Project, nor do they necessarily support it.

This book consists of four parts.

The first part focuses on reportage. It contains information about the early signs of tourization that, in fall 2013, can already be seen in the areas evacuated after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident. It also provides proposals on by experts on how to move forward in order to accept tourists into these areas from three points of view: tour guidance, food, and digital archives.

When we went to the towns of Namie, Tomioka, and Minamisoma, all of the individuals who showed us around the disaster areas there were volunteers. Our experience there could not be called “tourism.” However, the tourism of Chernobyl also started with spontaneous tours held by disaster victims and individuals involved with cleanup for journalists and other individuals in the media to learn more. Movement in Fukushima that is similar to what took place in the 1990s in Chernobyl can already be observed. We foresee that challenges in the future will include the questions of how to systematize these tours, and to what extent the government should assist these kinds of activities.

Sections two and three focus on proposals. In it, we propose a number of initiatives in order to move the tourization seen to a small degree in part one to a larger scale, and to attract a greater number of people to the areas around the nuclear plant. This makes up the body of the Fukuichi Kanko Project, or the Fukushima Daiichi Tourization Project.

One core element of these proposals is the large-scale redevelopment of the J-Village, a soccer training facility located on the border of the towns of Hirono and Naraha, 20 kilometers south from the Fukushima Daiichi plant. The J-Village was closed as a training facility immediately after the accident, and was then rented by Tokyo Electric and used as a base for disaster cleanup. Tokyo Electric’s current plan is to return J-Village to its owners within a few years and to once again ready it to be used as a training facility. However, when considering the circumstances surrounding this building, we believe that it would be best if the land was reborn as a completely new space that symbolized the accident and the recovery.

We have set theoretical deadlines of 2020, 9 years after the accident, for the proposals in section two, and 2036, 25 years after the disaster, for those in section three. We have set 2020 as a mid-term goal because of the Tokyo Olympics that will be taking place that year, as it is expected that many tourists from overseas will visit Japan for the Olympic Games. 2036 was chosen as a final goal because it marks 25 years, one generation, after the accident. 25 years is also the span of time between the accidents in Chernobyl and Fukushima. While we may not know what state the nuclear plant will be in then, by 2036, the environmental radioactivity in the area will most likely be at a lower level due to natural decay and decontamination efforts, to the point where tourists will be able to enter it without harm. We can see this in reality by looking at the low environmental radiation in Chernobyl, 27 years after the accident there.

We first propose that in 2020, a disaster recovery exhibition be held at the site of the old J-Village, and that this be used as an opportunity to vastly improve the ease of access to the area from Tokyo (This involves the use of the already-planned connection of the Joban and Tokaido rail lines). Next, we propose the idea that by 2036, “Fukushima Gate Village,” a massive multi-functional facility containing a visitor center, museum, shopping mall, hotel, exhibit space, and so on, be built on the site of the 2020 exhibition. We believe this can and should act as an entry point for tourism in the Tohoku region, along with as a trigger for the industrial revitalization of Fukushima’s coastal Hamadori region. From Fukushima Gate Village, visitors will be able to see the site of the nuclear accident, where decommissioning work will still be ongoing. Radiation exposure levels on these tours will be overseen by experts (similar to what is currently taking place in Chernobyl). As for the state of the nuclear plant itself, we assume in this book that by 2036, only fuel rods in reactor #4 will have been fully removed and the cover built for this process will have been removed, and that the structure affected by the hydrogen explosion that took place in March 2011 will have been restored. In our scenario, reactors #1 to #3 are covered by sarcophaguses, with decommissioning yet to start.

The reason we are proposing such a large-scale redevelopment plan is because we have taken a realistic consideration of what is needed in order to mobilize people from the perspective of tourism. The proposal put forth by this book is titled the Fukuichi Kanko Project. However, there is not much meaning in the tourization of the plant site alone. On its own, the site is simply too weak as a tourist attraction. We also hold doubts as to whether a visit to the plant alone would be enough for someone to truly feel the scale of the accident’s effects.

Because of this, we believe a plan is needed that not only shows visitors the plant site, but also takes them to the wide areas surrounding it that, by 2036, will likely have recovered, but whose citizens were forced to evacuate and whose communities were once destroyed. That is why the core of the proposal in this book is not a plan to preserve the power plant itself, but a plan to develop a giant visitor center. In order to pass the memories of the accident down to later generations, as many people as possible must visit the accident site. In that case, what needs to be done in order to get people to a location that is 220 kilometers away from Tokyo? The construction of Fukushima Gate Village is one answer to this question. The creation of Fukushima Gate Village must drastically change the image held by people of the Hamadori region.

There is another benefit to creating a facility 20 kilometers away from the plant that itself acts as a tourist destination. As I have just stated, we would like as many people as possible to go to the actual location of the nuclear accident and see the cleanup effort, which will still be ongoing 25 years after the accident, with their own eyes. Still, no matter how low the environmental radiation may be in the area, there will surely be many who feel scared to go near the plant. Fukushima Gate Village will be able to act as a place of learning for such people.

Some readers may feel that while our proposal for 2020 appears very realistic, our proposal for 2036 seems like a pipe dream. It is true that the hurdle to realizing this proposal is a large one. However, even if just portions of the proposal in this book become a reality, they will surely help the Fukushima Daiichi plant and the surrounding areas to overcome the tragedy of the accident and to become a major symbol, both domestically and internationally, of a “new Japan” that has made a strong recovery after the Great East Japan Earthquake.

We will change the feeling felt when people see the word “Fukushima” into an attractive one. We will make as many people as we can want to see Fukushima. We believe that this kind of change in image is absolutely essential to teaching later generations the lessons of the accident and to speeding up the recovery of the affected areas.

  The fourth and last section is a supplement. In it, we have collected various materials that support the proposals made in the rest of the book.

This summer, two authors of the Chernobyl Dark Tourism Guide visited Chernobyl once more. As part of the trip, they visited cities not seen during their first visit. Their follow-up report provides new information about this kind of tourization.

The section also features an essay on dark tourism by a tourism studies researcher who is a part of our study group. Dark tourism is a concept that appeared in the 1990s. It refers to a new style of tourism where individuals visit locations where tragedies such as wars and disasters occurred, such as Hiroshima and Auschwitz. As a country that regularly takes school children on trips to Hiroshima and Okinawa, Japan is, in fact, a leader in the field of dark tourism. One of the underlying supports to our plans is this concept of dark tourism.

Finally, we have gathered and presented materials relating to various recovery plans involving Fukushima that have been proposed as of this summer. While one can see that a surprisingly larger number of recovery plans, from realistic to fantastic, both private and public, have been proposed, we feel that in comparison to the gravity of the nuclear accident, a more diverse collection of proposals is still needed.

As the creator of this project, nothing would make me happier than if the proposal presented in this book made peoples’ thoughts and discussions relating to Fukushima more active, open, and bright.

Above, I have written about “changing the feeling felt when seeing Fukushima into an attractive one” and “making as many people as we can want to see Fukushima.” The spirit that runs throughout this plan is one that aims to change the images conjured when thinking of Fukushima from accident cleanup workers covered in protective suits, blown-apart reactor buildings, and widely-irradiated ghost towns to something else completely, creating a new situation in which thinking about Fukushima means thinking about the future of Japan and of the world.

Some among you may hold concerns about whether turning the accident site into something “cool” might be too frivolous, or if plans to attract tourists through such means runs counter to the feelings of those in disaster-stricken areas.

Others may sympathize with our stated intentions but wonder if it is still “too early” to start talking about these kinds of plans. It is true that the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plans is nowhere near concluding. Over 100,000 evacuees have been forced into worse living conditions, and the debate on the health effects of low-dose radiation exposure has yet to be settled. It is very natural to feel that this is not the time to be thinking about the future of the nuclear plant site.

In reality, too, our company has received various criticisms and concerns in the year since we announced the name of the Fukuichi Kanko Project and the formation of our study group. The questions above are among them. The majority of these criticisms and doubts are based on misunderstandings, and we hope to address many of these with the publication of this book. The Fukuichi Kanko Project is a long-term project that considers our future ten or twenty years from now. At its core is the idea of renewing the various images held regarding the disaster.

Still, I would like to take the time here to at least explain why we have chosen to unveil this plan in the fall of 2013, and why we have chosen to frame it as an easily-misunderstood “tourization plan,” rather than as a “Fukushima Daiichi Plant Disaster Remains Preservation Project” or a “Museum-building Project.”

First and foremost, we are presenting this project at this point in time because there is a need to fight against the fading of memories.

Only two and a half years have passed between the accident and the publication of this book. Because of this, there may be many individuals affected by the disaster whose memories of the accident are still fresh. It would be unimaginable that their memories are fading, and they may in fact even wish that they could forget the accident. But human memories will always grow dim. No matter how grave the accident, and no matter how protracted the cleanup, a day will come where people forget.

We learned this during our visit to Chernobyl. Twenty-seven years after the accident at the Chernobyl plant, things have still yet to conclude. The decommissioning of the plant is still in its preparatory stages, and a large amount of land sits abandoned while many people are still suffering from the aftereffects of the accident. Still, every Ukrainian person we interviewed spoke to us about their fear that memories of the accident would fade. They told us that even if their initial reason for visiting was simple curiosity, the many people who visit Chernobyl and learn for themselves about the accident should be welcomed. Even Ukrainians have come to forget about Chernobyl. There is no guarantee that the same thing will not happen with the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

Rather, this fading of memories may even occur in Japan faster than it did in Ukraine. I say this because when one looks at the last two and a half years, Japanese society has not always dealt with the accident in a way that could be called logical. The March 2011 disaster was a complex disaster, consisting of both the Great East Japan Earthquake and the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident. Japanese society has reacted to the former, a natural disaster, in a cool and reasoned way. There is strong advocacy for tourism-supported recovery, and the preservation of disaster-struck buildings as “disaster remains” is now moving forward. However, the reaction to the utterly un-natural latter accident has been one where little consensus has been formed among those in charge. As a result, the response has been paralyzed, and little progress if any has been made. There have yet to be any proposals to maintain parks or preserve remains affected by the nuclear accident. The exclusion zone was suddenly re-adjusted and the frequency of media reports has decreased. The public’s interest in the nuclear issue is declining. It is as if the Japanese people are now unconsciously trying to forget that this accident ever happened.

It is not a good thing, though, for peoples’ interest in the Fukushima Daiichi accident to gradually fade in this way. The accident in Fukushima was of a scale seen globally but once in decades. The memories and the lessons of the accident are not just for the citizens of Fukushima or even just the citizens of Japan. They must be preserved for the people around the world whose countries must continue to depend on nuclear power, and it is not too soon to begin preservation.

This is why we want to unequivocally state that we must convey the memory of the accident to future generations in the best way possible, create the broadest possible interest in the accident, and work out various plans, both tangible and intangible, for doing these things.

Some critics of our plan say that until we settle the questions of the necessity of nuclear power, the safety of low-dose radiation, and the morality of government and power companies, nothing can be done, or that no lessons can truly be taught. In principle, this is correct.

However, when can we expect for the people of Japan to come to an agreement on the above kinds of tricky questions? What we are in fact afraid of is that peoples’ memories will fade, materials will be lost, and remains will be dismantled while we wait for this kind of right opportunity.

Prudence can sometimes act as an obstacle to action. We cannot allow ourselves to stop thinking about the nuclear accident, or to stop in silence when faced with Fukushima. We believe that at this point in time, this is what’s most important.

Next, we use the term “tourism” in this plan because we believe that the wider the entrance to Fukushima, the better.

The word “tourism” does have a frivolous ring to it. The term “Fukuichi Kanko Project” is apt to create the impression that the plan is one where carefree and irresponsible tourists enjoy the accident site from a position of safe curiosity, treating it as someone else’s problem. While the actual project itself is nothing like this, this kind of mistaken impression may never disappear so long as we use this name.

The reason we have decided to use this name regardless of this fact is because we do not believe the frivolity of tourism to necessarily be a negative.

As stated in the opening of my remarks, we believe that the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant as well as the areas around it should be open to and accepting of not only researchers and journalists, but the general public as well. In addition, we believe that visitors should be welcomed in as soon as possible. There is no need to wait until 2020 or 2036 to make this happen. For example, tours could be held that go from the J-Village to the front gate of Tokyo Electric.

We emphasize this point because the problems created by the nuclear accident are extremely complicated. The necessity of nuclear power, the safety of low-dose radiation, the morality of the government and power companies, whether it is right or not to live in decontaminated areas that were formerly part of the exclusion zone--there is no simple conclusion to these questions. We do not believe that the complexity of this reality can be sufficiently expressed by activists and journalists with specific interests. No matter how well-intentioned they may be, their reports will inevitably be guided by their personal interests and values (this, too, is something we learned during our visit to Chernobyl).

What is important in this kind of situation is not to insist on “absolutely correct data,” but rather to have as many people as possible judge the rights and wrongs of the situation by way of their own interests and values. In order to do this, people from many different backgrounds must see this reality in its true, complicated state. We believe that it is especially important to open the area to international visitors in the way that Chernobyl decided to do at a time like this, when groundless rumors are flying around the world about damage caused by low-dose radiation. The visiting process must be as simple as possible and must not discriminate between visitors.

However, this also means accepting highly prejudiced individuals who know little about the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant accident and who will visit in order to say that they saw something scary. We cannot force every visitor to take a test before they are allowed to come.

Some who have voiced doubts about our project seem to be concerned that such people visiting the area will cause the hearts of local residents and nuclear plant workers to be hurt. Is this truly something that we should be concerned about, though? It is true that trouble may occur between citizens and visiting tourists, especially if an active effort is made to accept foreign tourists. But this would not be a problem for Fukushima alone. It is true for anywhere there is tourism. In this case, while there may be these kinds of minuses, we believe that they are outweighed by the pluses offered to the people affected by the disaster, as a visit to the accident site is the perfect chance to correct the ignorant and biased views that people may hold.

If the only people visiting the disaster site are those who are free of prejudice and have correct information, the situation will not improve. “Frivolous” tourists who originally came to see something scary, in other words, tourists from abroad, will likely turn serious after staying in Fukushima for a few hours. The small changes that occur in them as they realize the difficulties posed by nuclear power and the efforts being made in Fukushima will work to change Fukushima’s global image and will connect to the disaster recovery effort. We should not reject the frivolousness of tourists. Such individuals are the very people who provide us the chance to spread education and understanding.

Tourization means accepting people regardless of their points of view and interests, accepting ignorant and prejudiced tourists in addition to activists, journalists, researchers, bureaucrats, and politicians. That is why it also means a full disclose of information to the public.

If we do not do this, then the world will not learn about the complex reality of Fukushima.

At the base of this project is a view of humans as forgetful animals that are shockingly frivolous in nature.

We have thought of various ways to keep the memory of the nuclear accident alive in the memories of these forgetful and frivolous humans. Ultimately, how you feel about the validity of these attempts may depend on how you view humans and the human experience.


There is one thing that has stayed with me since my trip to Chernobyl that I would like to say here. A man in his 50s who was active in decontamination and evacuee efforts at the time of the Chernobyl accident who now works as an author while also arranging tours to the nuclear plant site told us the following:

Chernobyl is the best-known place in Ukraine. Fukushima may now be the most well-known place in Japan, too.

In reality, Japan has many locations that are internationally-known. We doubt that Fukushima is necessarily the best known among them. But only a few years earlier, Fukushima was familiar to anyone inside of Japan, yet fairly unknown to the international community. Now the world’s attention has come to focus on it, and its name has become inextricably linked with the memory of the nuclear accident. In the same way that most of us first learned of Chernobyl’s existence because of the accident there (Chernobyl itself had existed for centuries earlier), many people around the world first learned of Fukushima’s existence because of its accident.

Because of a nuclear accident, Fukushima has become a world-famous place. Not only that, unlike Chernobyl, it is located just a few hours away from Tokyo, one of the world’s pre-eminent global cities. Should we treat this as a wretched state of affairs, or should we see it as a new chance?

The reality of the nuclear accident cannot be erased. As the name Fukushima can no longer be separated from the ideas of nuclear power and radiation, we believe that the only way to create a future for it is to turn this crisis into an opportunity.

The plan put forth in this book is done so with the hope that it will be able to bring new light to the spirit of even one person beset by grief after the nuclear accident.

Welcome to the Fukuichi Kanko Project, the second intersection of tragedy and desire.