Is It Possible to Overcome Social Gap through Coproduction? : Kashiwa's Practical Experience As a Radioactive ‘Hotspot' after 3.11

Monday, July 14, 2014: 2:45 PM
Room: 501
Oral Presentation
Yasumasa IGARASHI , University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan
Kashiwa, a typical commuter town in the Greater Tokyo Area, is a significant urban farming area where the principle of ‘local production for local consumption’ is here to stay. However, Kashiwa lapsed into being the most serious ‘hotspot’ within the Kanto region, and its farmers suffered from a sharp decrease in sales following heated media coverage. Under these circumstances, I convened the ‘Round-table Meeting for “Kashiwan Products for the Kashiwan People” towards Security and Safety’, and called for various local stakeholders—including farmers, supermarket owners, restaurant chefs and housewives within their childrearing years—to be engaged in that meeting. We deliberately and scientifically discussed a unique radioactivity determination method on local farm products and soil, and arrived at an agreement over our own acceptable standard of radioactivity level in farm products. By measuring radioactivity and transmitting the result, we achieved certain results for the recovery of the reliability of local farm products.

Our primal motivation to convene the meeting was to overcome the ‘gap within the local community’, namely, the pointless conflict between consumers and farmers after the Fukushima accident, which was mainly derived from the asymmetric nature of ‘choice’ and ’mobility’ between them. Redefining local consumers and farmers as Kashiwan citizens sharing the same locality and issues, we strategically aimed to connect the local consumers, who have an attachment to the locality and wish to peacefully eat local products, with the local farmers, who intend to build personal relationships with the consumers. However, our community-oriented risk-communication strategy had a critical limitation: apart from the assumed local customers, it was impossible to reach a wider range of consumers via our marketing strategy. On the basis of this practical experience in Kashiwa, this presentation will discuss social ‘coordination’ and trust-building between people with opposite interests under the risk of uncertainty.