One year has passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake – On the occasion of March 11th
Today, on March 11th when one year has passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake, I would like to offer again my sincere condolences to those who died by the disaster as well as their families and friends. I would also like to express my deepest sympathies to those who went missing in the disaster, their families and friends and a lot of people who have been leading a very difficult life, both mentally and economically, since the disaster.
Then, I would like to express my appreciation to lots of people who have been supporting the affected people through JEN. Soon after the disaster, we have received supplies, donation and voluntary work from so many people that we have been able to continue our support to the disaster victims. JEN’s activity is aiming at helping such people restore their life with peace of mind. Therefore, we began our emergency assistance by offering soup kitchens, relief goods delivery and sludge removal. Then, we supported people so that they can put their lives back in order and also helped the construction of a temporary shopping center. Now, we are focusing on the support for livelihood recovery and rebuilding of ties in the communities, as well as support for children and psycho-social care. The donations which have been made by individuals, groups and companies from home and abroad for the disaster victims run up to about 1,900 million yen, out of which about 1,300 million yen were used for the above mentioned projects.
Ishinomaki-city where JEN developed its support activities is famous for its fishery and fishery processing industries and its scenic Oshika-peninsula. On the other hand the city, like any other Japanese local cities, had a lot of social problems. After the merger of one city and six towns in 2005, urban-type lifestyle and out-of-town lifestyle based on fishery and agriculture have coexisted side by side in the vast area. Needs for support to the disaster victims have got a great variety and become very complex, because the disaster has affected too broad regions which had various lifestyles and longstanding social issues. The situation of damage differs among areas and individuals. In some areas, people can see a spark of hope by making a step toward the reconstruction, but in other areas the lands are still under water. Those differences, which had difficulty seeing just after the disaster, have become visible little by little and are making the problem more difficult. Solutions applicable to any area never exist in the first place.
Therefore, it is important that the reconstruction should be made by area and by community. Needless to say, community is composed of individuals. Certain individuals who have lost too many things cannot still think of their future, let alone cannot stand at the start line to be self-reliant. However, the day when such people stand up again will surely come. For that, it is very important for them not to feel alone. In this sense, I would like to say most sincere thanks to those who have been supporting the affected people through JEN and at the same time I would like to ask them to continue their support in the future.
After the Great East Japan Earthquake, various aids came not only from home but also from abroad. Soon after the disaster, a lot of foreign people called JEN’s head office in Tokyo incessantly day-and-night to offer their support. Among them, there were quite a few people from the countries or regions far from well off where JEN had been developing its support for self-reliance of the local residents. The current JEN’s assistance to Tohoku region is based on the experience gained in such countries and regions. In order to pay our debt to them at some future date, we are going to continue our support with utmost effort aiming at reconstruction of Tohoku region and its future.
Again, I would like to ask your continuous support in order to help the recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake as well as to help the people’s self-reliance in the six countries where we are developing assistance.
March 11, 2012
Secretary General of JEN