Japan

mapJan 6-24, 2025

This course is offered by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, in collaboration
with Fukushima Medical University (FMU), the Takeda Healthcare Foundation (THF) &
Digital Innovation Center of Mitsubishi Corporation (DIC), and the Edwin O. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies at Harvard University (RIJS).

Students learn from site visits, lectures, and personal stories what is happening in the field
and among community residents. Teaching team members are from both Japan and the United States, and about 15 students from Harvard will have an opportunity to learn together with students from FMU and under the guidance of local advisors. The course focuses on three aspects of people’s lives after the disaster: physical health, mental health, and living environment.

More specifically, students are assigned to one of three topics: health monitoring, risk
communication, and decontamination, and will work in groups on a specific problem in
these areas. The groups propose feasible and innovative build-back better strategies based on evidence and tailored to the needs of the community, under the guidance of a faculty member or local expert.

Fukushima Prefecture is the third largest prefecture in Japan and is located in the north of the main island, Honshu. The main activities for the course take place in Fukushima City, in Nakadori (a central region), and in Aizu Wakamatsu City in Aizu (a mountainous
region), combined with a day trip to Hamadori (a coastal region) in Fukushima.
Fukushima City is the prefectural capital with a population of about 280,000 and Aizu
Wakamatsu City is a historical place known to international tourists as the “Samurai City.” The Fukushima nuclear power plant is located in Hamadori. Fukushima City and Aizu Wakamatsu City are about 70 km and 100 km away from the nuclear power plant,
respectively. Immediately after the nuclear disaster, many affected people evacuated to
these cities. The three regions (Nakadori, Aizu, and Hamadori) have different local
cultures, different weather and geographical characteristics, and different socio-economic statuses.

While the course has no prerequisites, we welcome graduate students with the following
kinds of experience and skills:

  • Interest in the Japanese health system and services
  • Interest and experience in health crisis responses
  • Technical capacities relevant to community health and radiation health
  • Experience in community health program design, implementation, and evaluation
  • Research interests related to the assigned topics for projects
  • Japanese language skills (Not necessary but preferred)

All Harvard students must attend the school-wide safety orientation and
all pre-departure course meetings.