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Dec 13, 2013

Monthly Report vol.31

A Message from Disaster

Two years and seven months have passed since Civic Force started activities to support reconstruction indisaster-hit areas of northeastern Japan. This section showcases the people who live in the affected areas andcontinue positive efforts towards recovery. As the 8th person, we interviewed Mr. Hisao Murakami, the owner of“Rakusho” , a Japanese-style pub called “izakaya” , in Sendai city.

Rikuzen-haranomachi Station is the third stop from Sendai Station on theSenseki railway line and after walking 30 seconds, you’ ll reach “Rakusho” , theizakaya I run. My hometown is Kesennuma city, so I offer local food of the Kesennuma region. Some of my customers are from Kesennuma city. When the disaster occurred, the inside of my shop became a mess because of the strongearthquake. But my main concern was my friends in my hometown who were affected by the tsunami. So for two months after the disaster, I kept my izakaya closed todeliver goods and prepare meals while traveling back and forth between Sendai and Kesennuma.

Thanks to the network of my former teammates from the Morioka Chuo HighSchool baseball team, many people including professional baseball players of Rakuten Rakuten Eagles visited to cheer us up. I was also engaged in activities such as holding baseball lessons by professional baseball players and inviting residents of temporary housings to baseball games. Because of the disaster, I gained new acquaintances who came to support us from all over the country including Shizuoka prefecture. While I wished to respond to their warm feelings, there were moments when I also felt people are becoming disconnected from each other due to the disaster.

The recommendations at my izakaya are fresh seafood, Kesennuma-style barbecued pork offal, and local foodsuch as “azara” . I want this shop to be a place where people gather to have a cheerful time and feel positive. Iam hoping to open an izakaya in Kesennuma city as well.

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Dec 13, 2013

Monthly Report vol.32

A Message from Disaster

Two years and eight months have passed since Civic Force started activities to support reconstruction in the disaster-hit areas of northeastern Japan. This section showcases the people who live in theaffected areas and continue positive efforts towards recovery. For this issue, we interviewed Mr.Masayuki Sakai, president of Kesennuma Fukko Inc., whose company takes care of the administrativework of temporary housings in Kesennuma City, Miyagi Prefecture.

In September, 2011, after the disaster, I established Kesennuma Fukko Inc. and have been operating variety of businesses such as, reception and distribution of reliefgoods, maintenance of temporary housings, providing services for temporary housing residents, and sales of temporary housings.

Before the disaster, I was a board member of the Chamber of Commerce andIndustry while running a dry cleaners shop in Kesennuma City. For a few months after the disaster, I was engaged in the management of an evacuation center in Kesennuma City where I received and distributed relief goods from members of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and acquaintances all over the country. I worked to meet the needs of those taking shelter at places with lesser help byreceiving information gathered through local relationships. Later, I set up Kesennuma Fukko Inc. by request from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, etc. to change the situation of Kesennuma City where reconstruction was not progressing as expected.

One of the roles of our company is to connect the supports that are offered to the disaster-affected areas. Since the disaster, I have continued activities only capable by a local person who knows Kesennuma City from old times, as I saw cases in which appropriate aids were not offered due to lacking knowledge of the area. Now my focus is on“Rental-bin” , a service in which users can rent trucks with a driver on a pay-by-the-hour system. While the needs for maintenance work on temporary housings are decreasing, the needs for moving out from temporary housings will increase going forward. I hope to expand our business irrespective of scope of services and create employment.


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Dec 12, 2013

Monthly Report vol.29

Support Required for Child Quake Victims

Two years and five months have passed since the March 11 GreatEast Japan Earthquake. The damage by this unprecedented disasterwas enormous. More than 15,000 people were killed and an estimated290,000 or more are still unable to return to their homes and are put up in temporary housing set up by the government, existing private and public housing, evacuation centres or are living with friends orrelatives. (Source: Reconstruction Agency website)

One of the biggest concerns in the affected areas is the impact ofprolonged life in refuge on children, our bearers of hope for thefuture. Due to the earthquake, many children find it difficult to continue their studies as the finances of their families came understrain: The breadwinners of their families may have died, gonemissing, become injured or ill, or lost their jobs from the disaster.Many families also suffered financial losses from the destruction oftheir homes – Some houses collapsed, were burnt down, or were damaged by the floods. Aside from the decline in their academic achievements, children also suffer from mental and emotional stress.

On the other hand, those children’ s parents are always on edge– Some are overwhelmed with worries about the future, some became sensitive to noises while some are depressed. These problems inevitably affect the children.

According to the 2012 data released by the Ministry of Health,Labour and Welfare, cases of child abuse were on the rise in the disaster areas. To stop the vicious cycle of suffering, more deliberate support is necessary to help tackle the individual problems faced by each victim.

As part of the Mid- to Long-Term Reconstruction Project ofCivic Force, the Dream Support Project was set up in March 2013to provide scholarships and educational programs for high schooland university students affected by the earthquake. As of July2013, 895 scholarships have been given out.

In the summer holiday season of July and August this year, an experiential learning program was organised for scholarship holders in cooperation with local NPOs which have been working with Civic Force in the north-eastern region of Japan. Through discussions with the local NPOs and youths of similar age, the program hopes to broaden the views of the participants and give them strength tolive life to the fullest.

This monthly Report features the three-day exchange program organised by the Japan Forest Biomass Network at the Tenohira niTaiyo no Ie, or House of Sunshine in Your Hand (in short House of Sunshine), a facility that supports children living the Fukushima area.


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