On the 11th March 2016 it will be 5 years since the Great East Japan Earthquake Disaster, which claimed the lives of many and dealt significant damage to the Tohoku region of Japan. The JET Programme suffered the loss of two of its participants to the tsunami; Taylor Anderson who worked as an Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) at schools in Ishinomaki City in Miyagi Prefecture and Monty Dickson who taught as an ALT at schools in Rikuzentakata in Iwate Prefecture. Since that day, people in the Tohoku region have been steadily working towards recovery including efforts towards rebuilding housing and increasing employment. CLAIR is grateful for all the support Japan has received from around the world.
In Japan and the rest of the world, concerns about radiation and food safety caused by the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have still not entirely abated. However, looking at the facts, the situation at the Fukushima nuclear power plant is stable and work towards decommissioning the reactor is being undertaken as we speak. Furthermore, the national and local governments are monitoring the situation 24 hours a day, continuing with decontamination efforts, and this coupled with natural decay already occurring, airborne radiation levels are vastly reduced. Aside from the pacific coast evacuation zone surrounding the nuclear power plant, the levels of airborne radiation in Fukushima prefecture are basically the same as major cities throughout the world. Furthermore, Fukushima prefecture is testing food produce for radioactive contamination based on maximum allowable limits that are the most stringent in the world. Only completely safe produce ever makes it to the market.
After the Fukushima incident, approximately 80 countries placed restrictions on food exports from Japan or outright banned import completely. Some of these restrictions have been eased and/or removed but some remain. We respectfully ask countries that still have restrictions in place, to remove them based on the scientific evidence that the food produce from Fukushima prefecture is safe for consumption.
The number of overseas tourists visiting the Tohoku region is still vastly reduced from what it was before the earthquake. This is surely because of worries about radiation and safety. However, we want to emphasise that Fukushima prefecture is safe to visit. Fukushima and the whole Tohoku region is blessed with delicious food produce, fantastic hot springs, and rich cultural traditions. We urge you to come and visit so can see and experience all of this for yourselves.
Information about recovery efforts in Fukushima
Japan Travel Updates after the 3.11 Earthquake
Eliminating Negative Reputation Impact