FUKUSHIMA Lives on the Line

256Management (September), held the “International Symposium on the Effects of Radiation on Health” organized by researchers from international health organizations (World Health Organization, etc.) (September), created two new courses related to radiological sciences in FMU School of Medicine (October).Furthermore, based on the proposals submitted at the National Government Conference on Recovery held in June 2011 and the Fukushima Recovery Vision Plan developed in August 2011, FMU is moving toward establishing a disaster medicine training center and a base for early diagnosis, developing state-of-the-art medical treatment facilities, and creating jobs in related medical industries. The university’s internal conference on recovery is making step-by-step progress on each of these activities. Now more than ever, it has become necessary to implement the “power of the knowledge of the university” and stand firm on the soil of Fukushima while conveying a strong vision of recovery.Significance of the Recovery of Fukushima in Human History: Hope in the midst of adversityThe Great East Japan Earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear incident in Fukushima Prefecture created a complex disaster, the first of its kind in human history. The drama was far-reaching as well as long-lasting. Mankind, the beneficiaries of nuclear energy, the “Fire of Prometheus,” could be tested again in the future anywhere on the planet. As evidenced by the environmental contamination caused by the nuclear incident, nuclear energy has proven to be a “Pandora’s Box” of sorts, unleashing disaster upon the world. As for the recovery of Fukushima, how humanity will stand up and face this test has great human historical significance. Now, among the contents of the Pandora’s Box given to us, there still remain both “hope” and wisdom as well as the will to continue forward through the difficulty.Japan has shown that the age of rapid growth of its advanced economy has ended, its population is in decline, demand is decreasing, and its workforce is no longer sufficient for its needs. All of these issues also accompany new issues of chaos and discord of the age. Will Japan’s society have the resolution and ability to implement the changes and reforms needed to turn the rudder and move forward on the issues it faces? Particularly in this age of transition and change, the natural disaster which has fallen upon nuclear energy, the symbol of the recent rapid economic growth, will give way to a new age and purpose brought on by Fukushima.If it is true that the nuclear disaster was a tragedy created by humans, then humanity also has the power to bring about a miracle from the dust of this tragedy. The new age of reform and visions of recovery based on the implementation of an action plan will be carried on the shoulders of the youth of the next generation. And this new age of reform will be executed through the strength of the management of FMU, which is needed now more than ever. The recovery and reinventing of Fukushima Prefecture will become a touchstone for both Japan and the world in the 21st Century. Today, FMU, as a center for Fukushima’s recovery efforts, will step forward to meet the challenges of the most critical period since its establishment.ConclusionImmediately following the earthquake, many people associated with universities expressed genuine concern about “Will there even be new students enrolling at our university next year?” The number of new students to enroll in 2012 was forecasted to increase (as of January). The number of students applying to the medical specialist program after graduating from clinical research increased by 50 applicants, in line with previous years. The contribution of an organization to society is essential, and it is vital that young people of the next generation participate. In these chaotic times, we must again take a good look at “education,” which is at the very core of the function of a university. We must foster both an “ethos pervading throughout the university” and a long-term strategy, transcending generations, and aim to secure the vectors to recovery.Fukushima Medical University: Managing Risks, and Prospects for Recovery after The Great East Japan Earthquake and the Accident at a Nuclear Power Plant