#Asia #Japan 89: How One Good Idea Emerged from Japan’s Nuclear Disaster – Safecast


After the March 2011 earthquake and the explosions at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, TEPCO and the Japanese government tried to assure us that everything was just fine. The repeatedly insisted that there was no serious danger posed by the radiation.

Not very many people believed them.

Reliable data from fallout areas was sparse at best, and many Japan residents doubted that the government was telling the truth in the first place.

It was in that environment that Pieter Franken and his team created Safecast. Safecast began as a small group in Japan with home-made Geiger counters making their reading available to everyone. They have now grown into an international movement involving private citizens, universities, non-profit organizations and government agencies.

Pieter also explains why environmental science will look very different ten years from now.

It’s a fascinating discussion, and I think you’ll enjoy it.

Show Notes for Startups

Why Japan’s disaster preparation failed
Why you need high-resolution and high-density radiation monitoring
Why citizens do not,  and perhaps should not, trust their governments
The advantages of creating a DYI kit rather than a product
How to maintain data integrity for crowdsourced efforts
Why both pro-nuke and anti-nuke activists opposed Safecast
How governments have reacted to alternative data sources
Safecast’s plan to win over the scientific community
The future of citizen science

Links from the Founder

Everything you wanted to know about Safecast

Safecast’s radiation maps
Safecast’s radiation report

Connect with Pieter on LinkedIn
Follow him on Twitter @noktonlux

 Leave a comment
Transcript from Japan

Disrupting Japan, episode 89.

Welcome to Disrupting Japan. Straight talk from Japan’s most successful entrepreneurs. I’m Tim Romero and thanks for joining me.

You know, crowdfunding and crowdsourcing in Japan largely gained in its popularity in projects related to the massive March 2011 earthquake, and ensuing tsunami, and the release of radiation at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. In fact, longtime listeners have heard the founders of some of Japan’s largest crowdfunding and crowdsourcing companies explain that breaking away from this image of crowdfunding as a social good was something that they had to overcome before their startups became truly successful.

Well, today we’re going to sit down with Pieter Franken of Safecast, one of the earliest examples of widespread crowdsourcing in Japan. And we talk about how they’ve grown from a Japanese patchwork solution to the leader of a global movement. After the Fukushima nuclear disaster, people throughout Japan were worried about radiation. TEPCO, who operated the facilities and the Japanese government assured everyone that things were under control and that everyone was perfectly safe. As you might imagine, however, most people were highly skeptical of these claims. The radiation data just wasn’t there or it wasn’t being shared with the public or it wasn’t believed when it was shared with the public.

Pieter and his team started Safecast to make sure that lack of information and lack of transparency would never happen again and they began building low-cost Geiger counters that people around the country and then around the world could use to measure their local area and then have all that data uploaded into the cloud and made available for anyone. It’s an amazing story and it’s one that Pieter tells much better than I do. So let’s hear from our sponsors and get right to the interview.


Tim: So I’m sitting here with Pieter Franken of Safecast. You guys make an open environmental data collection system for everyone but I think you can explain much better than I can what it is.

Pieter: To explain what we’re doing, best thing is just to go back in time a little bit. Exactly six years ago in March 2011,

from Disrupting Japan http://ift.tt/2rMFyIo

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