Disseminate scientific evidence-based information in an easy-to-understanding way.

"Commutan Fukushima" to deepen understanding and awareness of radiation and environmental issues.

Due to the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, radioactive materials were dispersed over a vast area in Fukushima Prefecture. As a result, many people of the prefecture were forced to evacuate, and decontamination measures have been applied to land and buildings contaminated in order to reduce the impact of radioactive materials on human health and the living environment. Under such circumstances, disparaging rumors have spread. such as refraining from purchasing agricultural, forestry, and fishery products produced in the prefecture. Safety and security measures have been undertaken based on scientific evidence, as represented by the implementation of the inspection of every bag of rice produced in the prefecture. “Commutan Fukushima,” a communication building of Fukushima Prefectural Centre for Environmental Creation, was opened as a facility that promotes accurate understanding of the current situation in Fukushima Prefecture and radiation, and that is equipped with an exhibition room conveying the current situation of Fukushima Prefecture experienced the nuclear disaster. It aims to provide a place where children and various organizations can share the knowledge and awareness gained from learnings and experiences at Commutan Fukushima, and provide an opportunity to think about, create, and disseminate information on the future of Fukushima from their respective perspectives.

Exterior view of Commutan Fukushima. The hemispherical dome theater, which looks like protruding from the building, stands out.

An engineer with scientific perspectives joined Public Relations, seeing out “fun.”

Engineer Serena Nishihara says, “I think of whether children can enjoy it or not first.” She is mainly in charge of events, information distribution, and coordination with organizations at Commutan Fukushima. An engineer is professional who is responsible for conducting investigations, researches, and so on in various fields, but she plays active public relations roles. Ms. Nishihara says, “I learned about ‘Commutan Science Academia'' when I was a student, and I thought that this is what I want to do!” She belonged to a club formed by female volunteer students in the science field while she was in graduate school, and since then she has planned and managed scientific events for children. “Commutan Science Academia'' is a course for elementary and junior high school students where they can learn about science and the environment of Fukushima Prefecture in an enjoyable way. According to her, it had something in common with what she was thinking. Later, she was hired as a Fukushima Prefectural government officer and assigned to Fukushima Prefectural Centre for Environmental Creation in her first year. In addition, she became in charge of “Commutan Science Academia” she had hoped for. “I thought ‘I did it!’.” At the same time, I felt a responsibility to be at the forefront of disseminating information about the environment,'' says Ms. Nishihara.

Ms. Nishihara giving explanation on the exhibition area. She says that radiation-related exhibits are left as they are even after it was renovated.

Make difficult things easy-to-understand. To allow visitors to perceive what they see and hear as their own experience.

There is a reason why Ms. Nishihara pursues “fun.” This is her own memory of the earthquake. Although she was hit by the earthquake in an urban area of Sendai City when she was in her third year of junior high school, she did not perceive the tsunami that hit the coast and the nuclear accident in Fukushima Prefecture as relevant to herself. She says, "I'm engaged with my work now while trying not to forget myself that I didn’t pay attention at that time.” The exhibition room, which was renovated in March 2023, was also well designed with ideas that stimulate children's curiosity all over the room. The number of visitors declined due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it has now over 90,000 visitors every year. Furthermore, "Fukushima Narrative Schola" is a unique project in which high school students talk about their thoughts and feelings on the future of Fukushima. They face themselves and learn techniques to convey their thoughts and feelings for more than six months. This is also intended that more people perceive the future of Fukushima for themselves through narratives told by ordinary high school students. Ms. Nishihara says, “I will continue to come up with ideas of disseminating information that allows the people of Fukushima Prefecture to enjoy and take it for their own while making use of the charm of Commutan Fukushima I can convey from the perspective of environmental science.”

Energy Creator is an experience-based exhibit that generates renewable energy such as wind power and water power according to a landform created in the sandbox and that interacts with the wall.

“Commutan Fukushima,” a communication building of Fukushima Prefectural Centre for Environmental Creation

10-2 Fukasaku, Miharu-machi, Tamura-gun, Fukushima Prefecture