Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, McMichael graduated from the University of British Columbia before moving to Japan in 2007 as a Coordinator for International Relations (CIR) for the prefecture of Fukushima. In 2010 he joined Fukushima University, and has since contributed to its campus-wide international strategy, assisting with the establishment of the Fukushima University International Center in 2012. Following the Great East Japan Earthquake, McMichael has endeavored to disseminate accurate information about Fukushima’s situation to the world, in particular through designing educational programs that eradicate harmful rumors and train interculturally component students that can establish future bonds between Fukushima and the world. In June 2012 he founded the Fukushima Ambassadors Program, and has since hosted over 192 international students and 650 domestic students on field work and study tours throughout disaster-affected communities in the prefecture.
Guest SpeakersYou can speak directly with the people currently working in Fukushima Prefecture and hear their frank opinions. Learn by hearing the real stories of Fukushima Prefecture.
I realized I had a hometown when I lost it
Ms. Tomoko Kobayashi
Futabaya Ryokan, Proprietressmore
She was working as a proprietress of Ryokan Futabaya in Odaka District (Minamisoma City) since before the disaster. The evacuation order issued after the nuclear accident forced her to live as an evacuee. When the evacuation order was lifted in July 2016, she reopened the ryokan. She speaks about the meaning in reopening a business from the perspective of a returning business owner and resident and her hometown.
Building a regional community
Katsuryoku Souzousya, Representative Directormore
The disaster triggered his return to his hometown in Fukushima Prefecture. His activities are based on the concept of supporting one another through a spiritual bond in order to revitalize Katsurao Village, which suffered a severe labor shortage due to the earthquake and nuclear accident. In order to rebuild the local community, he focuses his efforts on exchange projects between the community and the Tokyo metropolitan area.
Rethinking the qualities of a leader as a result of the disaster
Mr. Tomoyoshi Oikawa
Minamisoma Municipal General Hospital, Directormore
At the time of the earthquake, he took command of the core hospital where he was deputy director, located 23 km from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. He speaks on the qualities of a leader based on his experience making decisions and facing conflicts regarding what was best for the hospital, the patients, and the hospital staff as the nuclear power plant situation worsened.
The life of a fisherman: Have as much fun as possible
Mr. Motofumi Kikuchi
Soma Futaba Fishery Cooperative Haragama Branch, Youth Advisormore
Test operations still continue today in Matsukawaura Bay in Soma City due to the impact of the nuclear accident. Mr. Kikuchi, who serves as a leader among local fishermen, uses innovative ideas and dynamic vitality to vigorously develop, sell, and publicize processed seafood products in an effort to bring the allure back to marine products and restore people's pride in them. Find the strength and hints for overcoming adversities in the fisherman's way of having as much as possible in life.
A disaster can strike in your town too
Mr. Kazuhiko Amano
Fukushima University Fukushima Future Center for Regional Revitalization, Specially-Appointed Professormore
Operations Manager of one of Tohoku's largest evacuation centers, "Big Palette Fukushima." He has developed evacuation center management simulation teaching materials based on actual experience with long-term support activities as a result of the never-before-experienced nuclear accident. He examines disasters from the perspective of human rights, and communicates the lessons and knowledge learned.
Town revitalization with robots
Mr. Shinichi Igarashi
Minamisoma Robotics Industry Councilmore
Local metalworking companies and IT communications companies engaged in manufacturing in Minamisoma City came together to launch this council. They continue to make efforts toward integrating the robot industry which acts as the core of the Fukushima Innovation Coast Framework, and revitalizing the region. As we have come to expect that robots will be used to deal with disasters and in medical and nursing care, they are making efforts to further research and forge new technology that aim to revitalize towns with robots.