Hope Tourism – 2 Days Near Fukushima Nuclear Plant

I spent 2 days near Fukushima nuclear plant to help develop “hope tourism” during a mission for the Japanese Reconstruction Agency (founded in the wake of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake & tsunami and Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster). The goal of hope tourism was/is clearly to provide emotional & financial support to local communities following the events of 2011. On one hand, it can reduce a feeling of alienation. On the other hand, it can foster a sense of optimism and resilience.

We were all wearing individual radiation monitoring devices to avoid health risks, to reduce stress, and to demonstrate that short-term tourism was realistic from an health perspective. Our guides were great, the spots were frozen in time, and I was most moved by a simple sight: a series of shelves at the entrance of a school filled with well-aligned children shoes abandoned during evacuation.

Practical matters, risk perception, cultural differences, and storytelling were all important during this consultancy.