(Project of the Kajima Institute of International Peace)
"Fukushima, Genki?" Project
- Young Taiwanese volunteers introduce the facts on Fukushima's revival through documentary films -
Former Chief of the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association in Taipei
1.The import regulation against Japanese food in Taiwan
At the May 2017 conference co-hosted by SSDP and Prospect Foundation in Taiwan, the import regulation against Japanese food that the Taiwan government has been implementing was one of the topics discussed.
Taiwan has continued the import regulations against food from five prefectures including Fukushima, Gunma, Tochigi, Ibaragi and Chiba since the occurrence of the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident. The Tsai Ing-wen administration / DPP announced in November 2016 a policy that it would deregulate food imports for four prefectures except for Fukushima. This decision led to a violent protest demonstration initiated by the KMT and Pro-China unified groups, and resulted in a terrible confusion. Taiwan media referred to food from the five prefectures as "a nuclear disaster food", while fake news and false rumors that seriously distorted the facts circulated among the people. This did not reflect the reality in Japan. The Tsai administration had no choice but to postpone the deregulation, and has still not found a solution to the Japanese food import situation.
In June 2017 I received an e-mail from a young Taiwanese friend. She said that there was almost no accurate information reported in Taiwan about the rehabilitation efforts in Fukushima, and that Taiwanese anxiety against Japanese food already had turned into a misled national sentiment. She decided to organize a volunteer group and to make a visit to Fukushima, to collect facts on the ground, and to disseminate the truth through documentary films they would produce.
The project's title is "Fukushima, Genki?". "Genki?" means "getting well?" I would like to introduce their strong passion for Fukushima.
2.What is their motivation?
(1) Identity of "the Naturally Independent Generation"
People who positively promote the project belong to the so-called "Naturally independent generation", who are creating a new trend in Taiwanese politics. They are younger than mid-thirties, and have grown up enjoying significant freedom and democracy after the 1990's Taiwanized education. Their identity is completely different not only from the "Republic of China Nationalism" that mainlander Taiwanese have, but also from "Taiwan Nationalism" that older fashioned native-born Taiwanese have. They were born and grew up in a practically independent Taiwan, respect Taiwan's original history and traditions, and recognize themselves as Taiwanese who accept the fact that "Taiwan and China are different entities" and view this as natural as air they breath. Much like students who occupied the national assembly (the Sunflower student movement) in 2014, they have a strong consciousness of political participation with their Taiwan identity, and do not mind taking action to promote innovation and justice in their society.
(2) How was the import regulation against Japanese food presented to them?
Although all radiation doses of food products from the five prefectures never exceeded the standard level, these products were labeled as "Nuclear disaster food", and created an impression that all the foods are contaminated by radioactivity. Even processed foods from the five prefectures were withdrawn from supermarket showcases. Fake news and false rumors were abundant in the media and SNS (Social networking service), and fear and anxiety in Taiwan have been escalated. When the Tsai administration proposed a public hearing on the deregulation of food imports, the KMT and anti-Japan protest groups created confusion at the public hearing, not wishing to discuss the deregulation issue, and took actions with the sole purpose of criticizing the Tsai administration. People belonging to "the Naturally Independent Generation" did not recognize that all these phenomena were normal in a mature democratic state. They regard people who prefer to trust superstition rather than scientifically grounded facts as backwards and populist. They are ashamed of their fellow Taiwanese. This led their inquiring minds and sense of justice to take action.
(3) What should be done?
This group discussed several times what should be done to dispel the people's anxiety. They reached a conclusion that there is almost no accurate and clear information available in Taiwan on how the Japanese government and the people of Fukushima have tried hard to revive Fukushima after the earthquake. They themselves visited disaster-stricken areas, investigated and collected facts, saw the situation as it is, and took action to directly inform the people. And they selected SNS as a transmission tool as SNS is the most popular and influential tool in Taiwan.
After all this, the "Fukushima Genki" project came into existence. There is no meaning for the Japanese word "Genki 元気" in the Chinese language. "Genki desu ka? (Are you fine?)" means "Ni hao ma?". They dared to use an ordinary Japanese greeting word for the project title, which demonstrates that they would like to directly express their belief that they should report the facts on Fukushima with direct experience in this region of Japan.
3. From collecting facts in Fukushima to opening the Exhibition of Fukushima documentaries.
(1) The coordinator of the project is "Impact Hub Taipei", one of the social innovation groups in Taiwan. Mr. Chen Yuzhu, the founder of the group said, "Taiwan and Japan have something in common due to a number of disasters. We should study seriously how the Japanese government and the people of Fukushima have been tackling reconstruction." As for the import regulation issue he mentioned, "Taiwanese news is not neutral. We need to make sure the actual situation is as it is, and not obtain information from fake news but through our own eyes. Farmers in Fukushima have been paying more attention to whether their products are safe than to consumer preference. Please look at the documentary we made in Fukushima, and judge"
(2) Six social innovation groups, who are popular for sending SNS in Taipei, gathered facts in Fukushima. They covered over 1000Km, visited over 36 towns, came in contact with local people and investigated the real situations. They established three different themes for their investigation, first is the recovery of agriculture and tourism, second is the restoration of education and infrastructure, the third is the rehabilitation of local persons and local communities. Each group produced one documentary film. The scene that the people in Fukkushima speak the truth quietly is impressive.
(3) The documentary exhibition was held in "Huashan 1914 Culture Innovation Industry Zone" from November 24 to the 30. Mr. Chen Yuzhu delivered the opening speech and opened a ceremonial sake barrel, and the exhibition was opened. The hall is not very large, but the images and the documents were neatly arranged, and looked to be of very high quality. By 3 o'clock there were almost 300 visitors, and at the 8 o'clock closing time attendees reached over 800 people. Some visitors came with their children and there were also some foreign guests. We could see that some visitors were eager to ask questions to the staff.
The host organization announced that there were over 10 thousand visitors during in this period. Japanese media like Asahi, Mainichi, Sankei and Taiwanese media like Central News Agency and United News came to collect the news, and the exhibition was successfully closed.
The activities of the "Fukushima, Genki ?" project have been uploaded to Face Book, "Fukushima Genki? –Fukushima Exchange Project–" one after another. Anyone interested in this project is invited to follow it on FB. The number of followers has now reached around 2000. It is very difficult to judge whether the project is progressing smoothly from these figures. Each interview group independently holds round-table discussions and visitors independently upload the pictures of the exhibition on Instagram. The project seems to gradually become popular through steady activities like these.
However, the central core of the activity is the youth who belong to the naturally independent generation and have an interest in social innovation. They never provided the films to the media, so there exist some obvious limitation to expanding widely throughout society. It is also quite difficult to have an impact on the views of people like parenting housewives who have shown an allergic reaction to Japanese food or to middle-aged people who have been influenced by negative rumours. I feel that this is somewhat regrettable because their documentaries are of a high quality.
I would like to inform that Taiwan's net media "Formosa.com" conducted a public-opinion poll and published it on 26th Dec. The question concerning the deregulation of imported Japanese food from the five prefectures still has a severe response, as follows;
"Agree to deregulation: 19.0%", "Disagree: 72.4%", "No Answer: 6.6%"
- August 2019: Several Perspectives on the Korean Peninsula Issue--- The Deteriorating Japan-South Korea Relationship and the Uncertain Denuclearization of North Korea --- By Masahiro Akiyama Chairman, the SSDP
- July 2019, "An Outlook on the Denuclearization of North Korea--- What is the Stance of North Korea?---", Junya Nishino, Professor, Keio University
- July 2019, "An Outlook on the Denuclearization of North Korea --- How will the US move?", Narushige Michishita, Vice President, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies
- July 2019, "Discussion on Denuclearization of North Korea", SSDP Discussion Meeting on May 8, 2019
- May 2019: "Current Status and Prospects of South Korea and Japan's Frictions over History: How to address the Judicial Problems", Masao Okonogi, Professor Emeritus, Keio University
- May 2019: "South Korea and Japan's Frictions over History" (Comments), Junya Nishino, Professor, Keio University
- May 2019: Japan and South Korea Relationships (Question & Answer)
- March 2019: "The Present State and Prospects of the Indian Economy and Economic Policies" written by Koji Kobayashi, Senior Economist Mizuho Research Institute Ltd.
- March 2019: "The "Modi diplomacy" in the History of Indian diplomacy--- Departure from or maintenance of the traditional diplomacy? ---" written by Toru Ito, The National Defense Academy of Japan
- February 2019: Dynamics of Indian Politics and the 2019 General Elections, written by Chiharu Takenaka, Professor of Rikkyo University
- February 2019: "Cooperative Strategy" to Realize "Competitive Strategy"--- The composite structure of Japan's "Free and Open Indo-Pacific" strategy (vision) ---, written by Matake Kamiya, Professor at The National Defense Academy of Japan
- January 2019:, A paper, "How will the US midterm elections results affect the Trump administration's foreign policy for 2019?" written by Tsuneo Watanabe, Senior Fellow, the Sasakawa Peace Foundation
- January 2019:, A paper, "The Present and Future of the International Trade Order" , written by Akihiko Tamura, Professor, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies
- December 2018: The US-China Competition and Japan, written by Ryo Sahashi, Professor at Kanagawa University
- December 2018: An Outlook for the US-China Trade War―What makes the two economically interdependent superpowers confront each other?―, written by Takashi Sekiyama, Associate professor at Toyo University
- September 2018: Proposal, "The Denuclearization of North Korea and the Restoration of Peace in the Korean Peninsula― Correct Perceptions and Eight Proposals on Japan's North Korea Diplomacy－" edited by the Society of Security and Diplomatic Policy Studies
- September 2018: "The Taiwan Policy of the Xi Jinping Administration in its Second Term: An Outlook on Cross-Strait Relations in the New Era" written by Yasuhiro Matsuda, Professor of the Tokyo University
- July 2018: "The EU States and Russia on North Korea Issues- Expansion of Influence through Diplomacy: Attempts and Limitations -" lectured by Yuichi Hosoya, Professor of Keio University
- "An Assessment of the US-North Korea Summit and an Outlook for the Future of the Korean Peninsula" lectured by Junya Nishino, Professor of Keio University
- "Korean Peninsula Issue and Japan's Future Security Policy" written by Hideshi Tokuchi, Senior Fellow of National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies
- July 2018: "US North Korea policy affected by personnel changes in the Trump administration" lectured by Tsuneo Watanabe, Senior Fellow of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation.
- "China-North Korea relationship under Xi Jinping" lectured by Shin Kawashima, Professor of the Tokyo University.
- "North Korean Denuclearization and Russia" lectured by Nobuo Shimotomai, Professor of the Hosei University.
- March 2018: "The Network Hegemony Theory for a Security Architecture in The Asia Pacific Region" lectured by Masahiro Akiyama, Chairman, the Society of Security and Diplomatic Policy Studies
- January 2018: "A Destabilized Middle East" lectured by Koichiro Tanaka, Professor, Keio University
- December 2017: "Problems in Sino-Japanese Relations, 1992-2042" lectured by Ezra F. Vogel, Professor of the Social Sciences Emeritus at Harvard University
- November 2017: "The Future of the Asia-Pacific Region" written by Yoriko Kawaguchi, Fellow, the Meiji Institute for Global Affairs, Former Minister Foreign Affairs
- October 2017: "A New Trend in India's Foreign Policy and Japan" Written by HIROSE,Takako, Professor, Senshu University
- August 2017: "The Shocks that shook the Transatlantic World and their Implication for Japan's Foreign Policy" written by HOSOYA, Yuichi, Professor, Keio University
- August 2017: "Does Economic Interdependence not Encourage Collaboration? ―Thinking Japan-China Relations from an Economic Perspective―" written by Takashi SEKIYAMA, Ph.D., Toyo University
- July 2017: Proposal article "The Trump Administration's Impact on the Cross-Strait Relations" written by Yasuhiro Matsuda, Ph.D.
- June 2017: Proposal article "The outlook for the relationship between two great powers and implications for Japanese diplomacy" written by Professor Shin Kawashima
- May 2017: (Emergency Proposal) Facing the Inconvenient Truth: Re-examining Policy for Peace and Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula (Chief author, Masao Okonogi)
- March 2017: "Economic Influences of the Trump Administration" written by Professor Motoshige Ito
- February, 2017: Proposal article "Trump's Foreign and Security Policy - Unpredictable President, Realistic Secretaries - " written by Mr. Tsuneo Watanabe is posted on the website of SSDP.
- December, 2016: Proposal article "Reconsidering North Korea Policy: How to Deal with a Nuclear Armed Divided States" written by Professor Masao Okonogi is posted on the website of SSDP.
- August 2019: Report; 2019 FUTURE CONSENSUS DIALOGUE --Sustainable Prosperity and Future of Korea-U.S.-Japan Cooperation-- By Future Consensus Institute (Yeosijae)
- June 2019: Report on India – Japan Security Dialogue 2019 by Ms. Vindu Mai Chotani, Ph.D Student, The University of Tokyo
June 2019: Four papers on Japan-India Cooperation submitted to India-Japan Security Dialogue 2019
Japan's Rationale for a Free and Open Indo-Pacific Vision
Tsuneo Watanabe, Senior Fellow, The Sasakawa Peace Foundation
The Significance and Possibilities of India-Japan Cooperation in the Concept of the Indo-Pacific
Toru ITO Associate Professor, National Defense Academy of Japan
Japan-India Defense Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific Context - Operationalizing the Security Aspect of the Indo-Pacific Vision –
Hideshi Tokuchi, Senior Fellow, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS)
India-US-Japan Defense Cooperation: What's next?
Dr. Satoru Nagao, Hudson Institute
- Japan's Rationale for a Free and Open Indo-Pacific Vision
- November 2018: "The Present State of the Japanese Economy and Policy Issues" lectured by Motoshige Itoh, Professor Emeritus at the University of Tokyo.
- November 2018: "Expanding Social Security Expenses and Fiscal Reforms" lectured by Kazumasa Oguro, Professor at Hosei University.
- September 2018: "Taiwan Identity and Cross-Strait Relations and Trump's Taiwan Policy and the Future of Taiwan-US Relations-Discussion at The Second Japan-Taiwan Strategic Dialogue (June 21, 2018, Taipei)-" written by OGATA, Makoto
- September 2018: "Japan-Taiwan Dialogue 2018 Minutes", 21st June 2018, Taipei, Taiwan.
- July 2018: Report on The Second Japan – Philippines Strategic Dialogue prepared by Ms. Vindu Mai Chotani, Ph.D. Student, Graduate School of Public Policy, Tokyo University.
- May 2018: "Civilian Control "at Crisis"? – Perhaps Not, for the Case of the Field Sit-reps from SDF's South Sudan Mission" reported by Ippeita Nishida, Research Fellow, the Sasakawa Peace Foundation
- January 2018: "Fukushima, Genki？Project－Young Taiwanese volunteers introduce the facts on Fukushima's revival through documentary films－" reported by OGATA, Makoto, Former Chief of the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association in Taipei
- December 2017: "Commemorating a Quarter Century of Dispatches of the JSDF's PKO Units: Challenges and Possibilities in the Post South Sudan" written by Takayuki Shoji, Lecturer, Nihon University
- November 2017: "19th CCP National Congress" written by Mr. Bonji Ohara, Senior Research Fellow, the Sasakawa Peace Fondation
- October 2017: "What is Japan's Role in the Indo-China border conflict?" written by Dr. NGAO,Satoru, Research Fellow, Institute for Future Engineering
- July 2017: "Overview of the Current Situation in Taiwan-" the Naturally Independent Generation" will affect the Taiwan"s politics-" written by Makoto Ogata MGE.(Ret.)
- June 2017: "Japan-U.S. Economic Dialogue" written by Mr.Takaaki Asano
- March 2017: "The Japan-Philippines Strategic Dialogue" written by Mr. Hideshi Tokuchi
- February, 2017: Current topic "The Importance of Japan's Security Role Under Trump" written by Dr. Satoru Nagao is posted on the SSDP website.
- December, 2016: Current topic "Widening Security Task: Will SDF do the Job?" written by Mr. Ippeita Nishida is posted on the SSDP website.
- August 2019: Korea-Japan Joint Seminar: FUTURE CONSENSUS DIALOGUE
- April 2019: "Security Studies (vol1 no2) April 2019"
- March 2019: A research journal "Security Studies vol1 no01" just published
- February 2019: The Denuclearization of North Korea and the Takeshima Issue
- December 2018: Former Vice Defense Minister Masahiro Akiyama's Memoirs (An Ad)
- November 2018: Participation in the Future Consensus Forum held in Beijing
- September 2018: "2018 Indo-Pacific Security Dialogue" reported by Masahiro Akiyama
- 2017 December: "The Butterfly Project-A possibility of showing a solution to the North Korea problem-"
- October 2017: Campaign on the problems with North Korea
- August 2017: A New Containment Policy Strategy
- June 2017: Korean peninsla
- March 2017: President Duterte
- February, 2017: Kazakhstan
- November, 2016: Participated in Astana Club 2016 held in Kazakhstan on November 14- 16, 2016.