Making informed choices
Within a week, the group had a prototype and began getting readings that suggested the 20 kilometre (12 mile) exclusion zone declared around the Fukushima plant had no basis in the data, Franken said.
“Evacuees were sent from areas with lower radiation to areas with higher radiation” in some cases, he said.
The zone was eventually redrawn, but for many local residents it was too late to restore trust in the government.
Okano evacuated his mother, wife and son while he stayed with his flock.
But a year later, based on his own readings and after decontamination efforts, he brought them back.
He learned about Safecast’s efforts and in 2013 installed one of their static counters on his temple, in part to help reassure worshippers.
“I told them: we are measuring the radiation on a daily basis… so if you access the (Safecast) website you can choose (if you think) it’s safe or not.”