Ippan Shadan Hojin DSIA

The Durable Social Innovation Alliance (DSIA) stimulates sustainable Japanese-style social innovations through entre- and intra-preneurial activities, which are enhanced by alliances among diverse partners including companies, governments and NPOs. DSIA's goal is to create new social values and knowledge, but still path-dependently based on Japanese traditional and corporate culture, technology, socio-economic behavior and past experiences. The DSIA contributes to developing human resources who will tackle social issues, as "opportunities of changes" (Drucker), with a strong mind of social innovation and entrepreneurship. By doing so, we hope to re-generate and re-activ...
Jul 20, 2015

Still Extremely Difficult to Plan Anything

Isatomae Fukko Shopping Arcade (IFSA)
Isatomae Fukko Shopping Arcade (IFSA)

The Isatomae Fukko Shopping Arcade (IFSA) is working very hard to organize attractions to bring visitors there. They seem to be succeeding in attracting a large number of people to events, especially during the summer. Some of scheduled events are “Japanese Ice Fish
Festival,” “Azalea Festival,” and “International Friendship Festival” in May, “Righteye Flounder Fishing Festival” and “Night Shops” in June, “Work Experience Opportunities for Junior High Students,” “Mini-soccer Day,” “Live Band Play,” “Decorated Cars,” and “Utatsu Summer Festival” in June, “Everybody’s Festival,” “Tour de Tohoku 2015” in September, “Mishima Shrine Festival,” “Kesema Oshima Shrine Festival” in October, “Abalone Festival” in December, “Senior High Futsal Festival” in January 2016 and “Junior High Futsal Festival” in February, and “Spring Wakame Festival” in March. People in IFSA are working extremely hard to bring people from outside to keep their business going.     

Governmental regulations related to an emergency situation in a disaster-stricken area were temporarily suspended to facilitate quick recovery and redevelopment. But now, before redevelopment is completed, the government started stopping the suspension and tightening up regulations. This change clearly started influencing the moving schedule of the IFSA. It was supposed to move to a temporary place in August 2015. Although an elevated land for a temporary location was completed, due to governmental document clearance, IFSA still needs to wait for a few months until November 2015. People in IFSA even found that electric poles moved from an old road to a new one even require governmental document clearance, possibly further delaying the schedule of move. Now, the Prefectural Government is requesting the Central Government to allow some exceptions to the regulations, especially when changes are only for a temporary location used until December 2016. Although IFSA people are used to this type of delay, they are disappointed because they just cannot follow their own plan.  

This type of delay is making people impatient even for their houses. A mountain was flattened for public housing areas, and the Minami-sanriku-town Government asked who would like to move in. Previously fifty houses were planned, but now the number was reduced to 45. One piece of land for a house is about 330 m2, costing about 3.52 million yen, which is rather inexpensive. But a new house has to be built with only 2 million yen subsidy and the rest self-financed. Besides, due to a huge demand for construction, the cost of house building is rising extremely high. Now, construction companies from the Tokyo area are taking a significant portion of orders with a fairly high price. Local carpenters can construct much more inexpensively, though they can construct only up to five houses per year, requiring a new customer to wait for four or five years before a house is completed. Most of local money is now sucked up by Tokyo construction companies. Some present shop owners at IFSA are planning to operate their business from their houses. But unfortunately, in December 2016 they may not have their houses ready for both living and conducting their businesses. Some people without sufficient saving or with remaining debt, just cannot plan to move forward in their lives.

In the previous report, I reported that the 7-11 Convenience Store will take over a half of the space in the Final Shopping place. Because of their ATM operation, a local bank and even a post office are hesitating to move into the Final Sopping place. Again a monopolistic situation of a Tokyo company is reducing options previously very familiar to local people. Post-disaster struggles and frustration still continue without the end of tunnel in sight.  

Elevated Land for Temporary Shop
Elevated Land for Temporary Shop

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Jul 20, 2015

No Decision and Not Much Time Left

Nobody on Saturday
Nobody on Saturday

Kirarin Kids (KK) is feeling much more responsibilities for their roles in building a community with strong bondage between children and parents in Rikuzen Takata, especially because the declining number of children in the community is becoming quite conspicuous. KK is doing their best to make their community attractive to young parents. It has been offering many programs, such as: (1) Kirarin Kids; (2) Kirarin Egg and Baby; (3) Kirarin Mama; (4) Kirarin Papa; (5) Kirarin Café; (6) Kirarin Miniature Farming; and (7) Kirarin Refresh. Besides, KK also provides highly valuable additional services, such as the Children’s Health Saloon in cooperation with the HANDS, Play Cars brought by the UNICEF and the Toy Maker Association, cooking lectures, traditional food cooking, lectures on children’s nourishment, counselling on life with a small fee charged, a puppet show, a party with Santa Clause, Christmas gardening, Nobody’s Perfect sessions, playing at the Ashinaga Rainbow House once a month, etc.

KK now started a health food program for mothers, which will also help to make emergency food and baby foods. With regard to Kirarin Papa sessions, it started attracting a large number of fathers and children. In the first session, it had only ten couples. Then the number grew to 15 in the second session and to 20 in the third session. As a whole, this program involved about 130 people. KK also had a Tanabata Festival in July, attracting about 200 attendants. Other shops cooperated to offer quite many attractions, such as bon dance, fireworks, games, etc. This evet became famous enough to attract people from neighboring cities of Ofunato and Kesennuma. KK just recently visited the newly established fire station, and will be organizing an athletic meeting.

All are working well, and people are well responding to these events. Despite such successes, KK is facing deadlocks, incapable of finding a solution to its future. The best option it would like to have is to have enough fund to purchase a piece of land and build its place in a newly rebuilt land along the coast. Since KK did not own a piece of land before the disaster, it is not capable of receiving governmental subsidies. Naturally, they hardly have savings. If the previous land owner will build a facility which KK can borrow, it will be its second best option, since KK will attract people who will gather for shopping on the coastal side. Any sign of this option seems to exist.  The third option is to organize a cooperative to borrow a facility which KK uses presently. A half of present tenants will move out, but KK is hoping to have enough number of the present tenants to remain, so that they can request the city government not to remove one building out of the present two buildings. Unfortunately, since everybody is still looking for an alternative, no action has been taken. But one thing they are certain is that this location will not be attractive at all to bring their clients. Does KK have enough time to operate without making any decision? Time bomb is ticking. However, KK also thinks that the last option is simply to borrow a space at a newly established quite attractive community center. It is rather hesitant to do so, since it loses its permanent location. At least, they have the last option they can choose unwillingly. However, efforts should be made for a better option before the time bomb explodes.

Elevated Land
Elevated Land

Links:

Apr 21, 2015

Pressure and Uncertainty: Not Much Time Left

Fun at Kirarin Kids
Fun at Kirarin Kids

Kirarin Kids (KK), as usual, works very hard and innovatively.  KK has been doing very well in offering many programs and attracting local mothers and children, as I have reported previously, They continue to have seven major programs: (1) Kirarin Kids; (2) Kirarin Egg and Baby; (3) Kirarin Mama; (4) Kirarin Papa; (5) Kirarin Café; (6) Kirarin Miniature Farming; and (7) Kirarin Refresh. Besides, KK also provides highly valuable additional services, such as the Children’s Health Saloon in cooperation with the Hands, Play Cars brought by the UNICEF and the Toy Maker Association, cooking lectures, traditional food cooking, etc. Now, they decided to offer more programs on No Body’s Perfect, lectures on children’s nourishment, counselling on life with a small fee charged, a puppet show, a party with Santa Clause, Christmas gardening, etc. Especially notable is their increase of  (4) Kirarin Papa sessions, offering lessons how fathers can read books for children, father (grandfather)-children brown-noodle making, and showing a movie titled “Jin Jin.” One Sunday a month, they will have a key and big event for improving father-children relations. Now, their schedule tables are filled much more than before. Because of such activities, their clients are increasing. Especially, mothers and children who just moved to Rikuzen Takata are finding KK a valuable place for them to enter into the community. There were also some signs of newly coming foreign workers, but they found their-affiliated religious organizations more comfortable to belong.

With regard to a KK’s future location after the present temporary government-provided facility is dismantled, nothing has been yet settled. But a Tokyo-based NPO is offering opportunities to develop some kind of future tie-ups with organizations showing an interest in building a children’s facility in Rikuzen Takata, while the City Government also seems to be developing some programs to improve the image of the city by providing more children support. However, nothing is certain. Especially, nobody knows how the latter programs will be, until an election of a Mayor will be completed the next month.

KK’s active and innovative approach toward all types of problems and uncertainties seems to be generating some potential solutions, while nothing is certain at this moment. Since competition among childcare NPOs in Rikuzen Takata is becoming severe, there is also a possibility that nothing may work out at the end. 

Let me do it too.
Let me do it too.

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