Politik des Wiederaufbaus in Otsuchi

東日本大震災5年 第1部 まちづくり/4止 「選択と集中」を模索

町長を1期で退くことになった碇川豊さん。「キャンバスの下地はつくった。色を塗れない無念さはある」とつぶやいた=岩手県大槌町で、竹内良和撮影

岩手・大槌、膨らむ事業数 将来の維持費に懸念

 東日本大震災の被害から立ち上がるため自治体の復興事業数は膨らんだ。だが、人口減少が進む中、整備したインフラの維持がいずれ財政を圧迫しかねない。未来につながる復興のあり方を自治体は模索する。

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 昨年春。岩手県大槌町長(当時)の碇川(いかりがわ)豊さん(64)には寝耳に水だった。1週間前に会計管理者への辞令を交付した部下が辞表を出したという。部下は8月の町長選への出馬を表明する。「『選択と集中』で復興のスピードアップを図る」。そんな公約を掲げた。

 町では、震災で人口の8%の1277人が犠牲になり、役場も町長と職員の計40人を失った。元町総務課長の碇川さんは2011年8月の町長選で初当選。突貫作業で防災集団移転促進事業(防集)などハード中心の復興計画を2カ月で仕上げた。計画は14年3月、福祉や教育も含む内容に練り直され、大学教授や住民代表ら委員12人が復興の基本計画を改めて議論した。

 人口減少の現実を住民に認識してもらおうと、計画書の巻頭に右肩下がりのグラフを掲載する案が出た。地元委員が猛反対した。「“安楽死”させるまちづくりに熱くなれるはずがない」。有識者委員が反論した。「見たくない現実だからといって伏せるのはいけない」。結局、グラフは目立たない巻末資料とすることで決着した。基本計画に「町の魅力向上で定住促進」との理念がうたわれた。

 14年度以降の町の復興事業数は255に膨らみ、人口で6割多い同県陸前高田市の事業数を90近く上回った。町産木材を使った公民館建設、町道の融雪機能整備、全町でのケーブルテレビ整備−−。震災前より質の高いまちを目指した取り組みも盛り込まれた。

 町職員は現在、他自治体からの応援を含め300人弱。震災前から約160人増えたが、年間50億円だった当初予算は復興事業で500億円に膨張し、震災前の10倍の事業を2倍の職員で担う形だ。事業執行はパンク状態となり、町長自ら町施設の用地交渉で地権者宅に向かった。15年度予定だった防集の完了は、17年度予定にずれ込んだ。

 町長選で、かつての部下、平野公三さん(59)に碇川さんは939票差で敗れた。復興の遅れへのいらだちを、町のトップとして頭を下げて受け止めるしかなかった。だが、碇川さんは今も、従来の復興計画に誤りはないと考えている。

 「『選択と集中』は平時の言葉だ。震災で全てなくなり、橋も学校も造り直さねばならない。そんな時に仮に今の人口が半分になりそうだからといって半分のまちづくりなどできない」

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 平野さんは、過剰なインフラ整備は維持費がかかり、人口減少で税収が細る町の財政を圧迫すると考えていた。町長就任直後から復興事業の見直しに着手したが、すぐ壁にぶつかる。

 「なんでこんなに遅れるんだ。もう疑心暗鬼になっている」。昨年10月、町東部地区の公民館で開かれた住民説明会。高台の造成が半年近く遅れると発表すると、マイクを握る初老の男性が顔を紅潮させた。この地区の計画遅れの発表は3度目。造成区画を減らすなど抜本的見直しをさらに行えば、一層の遅れは避けられない。男性の言葉を「町民全体の思い」と理解した。翌月、町が発表した復興事業の見直しは、災害FMや漁業振興などソフト事業中心の廃止にとどまった。

 昨年の国勢調査速報値で町の人口は10年比で23・2%減の1万1732人となり、県内最悪の減少率だった。「面かじいっぱい切りたいが、そうすれば町は混乱し転覆する」。平野さんは針路変更の難しさをかみしめる。だが、「少しずつでも方向を変えていければ、何年か先には結果が出る」と今後も見直しを検討するという。【震災5年取材班】=おわり

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 第1部は、竹内良和、伊藤直孝、本橋敦子、春増翔太、浅野孝仁、近藤綾加、樋岡徹也、坂口雄亮が担当しました。

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Onagawa Moving Forward on the Difficult Road to Recovery

A Tōhoku Town Returns to Life

Kikuchi Masanori [Profile]

[2015.06.19]Read in: 日本語 | 简体字 | 繁體字 | FRANÇAIS |

Onagawa was hit hard by the tsunami from the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. But four years later, it is starting to recover, with the fishing industry in particular making a rapid comeback. Journalist Kikuchi Masanori goes back to the town he has visited repeatedly since the year of the disaster for an update on its progress.

Reopened Station Brings New Energy to Town

“Welcome to Onagawa”

The message, displayed on a brand-new blue banner, greeted me when I alighted from a train at Onagawa Station in early June 2015. The recently completed three-story steel-frame station building, light brown and gleaming in the hot sunlight of the clear day, stood out among the scattered buildings of the area. Families and couples were enthusiastically snapping photos with their smartphones. And the station’s attached hot spring facilities were lively with visitors, even though it was daytime on a weekday.

Onagawa lies on the east coast of Miyagi Prefecture, and its train station is the eastern terminus of the East Japan Railway Company’s Ishinomaki Line. The station was finally reopened on March 21, 2015, four years after it was washed away by the tsunami following the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011. Onagawa is located in a low-lying area facing the sea with a ring of hills behind it; the hills blocked the advance of the tsunami, and the waters rose to a height of 20 meters—much higher than in other affected areas. The tsunami laid waste to all the buildings in the town center, including the train station, and left 827 people dead or missing.

It took about two years for the town, with aid from the national and prefectural governments, to clear away the debris. Work has also been underway at a rapid pitch to rebuild the port and roads, raise the elevation of land in the town center around the station, and develop sites for residential construction on higher ground.

It was my fourth visit to Onagawa and, compared with the scene of ruin that greeted me in 2011, the progress was clearly visible both in inland areas and around the port. There were still many vacant lots in the vicinity of the station, but work had started on the station plaza and pedestrian promenade, and my eye was caught by all the shops under construction in the area around the station.

Artificially raised land near Onagawa Station. The tsunami hit the first floor of the local medical center (right), even though it was built on a natural elevation, and devastated the facility.

Rebuilding Only Just Begun

One week after the station reopened, the Future Center opened nearby as a facility for young entrepreneurs to get together and talk. It is managed by Asu e no Kibō, a nonprofit organization whose name means “hope for tomorrow,” which has been supporting the establishment of businesses and running employment training activities for two years. As well as being involved in the planning and launch of the El Faro hotel in the town, it has helped with the realization of projects including an art studio and café. The nonprofit’s leader, Komatsu Yōsuke, who is originally from the prefectural capital of Sendai, noted, “In contrast to a big city like Sendai, Onagawa has strong community ties and a culture where veterans boost the younger generation. This has been very heartening.”

Komatsu added that the reopening of the railway line has brought more visitors and it is possible to feel the renewed energy. But he emphasized that the rebuilding of the community powered by young people has only just begun: “Taking the initiatives to the next stage is crucial. We will provide support in drawing many kinds of people to the town, raising funds effectively, and helping businesses to achieve stability.”

A view of the Future Center, one of the still relatively few buildings that have been completed in the area around the train station.

Next, I walked for around 15 minutes to the waterfront and arrived at the Onagawa branch office of the Miyagi Prefecture Fisheries Cooperative. There I talked to 66-year-old Itō Kazuyuki, who has been engaged in the cultivation of scallops, Onagawa’s main seafood product, for over 40 years.

“It seems like we’re getting back on our feet faster than other places struck by the tsunami. I think we’re doing pretty well considering how hard we were hit.”

Although his expression seemed to relax somewhat as he spoke, Itō had only narrowly escaped the tsunami by jumping into a truck and driving from his coastal workshop to higher ground. But his home and the 13 rafts he used for cultivating scallops were all washed away. And he lost many friends and relatives, including his wife’s mother, whose remains have never been found.

“I lost the entire crop of scallops just before the spring shipment. That really hurt. First I had to clear away the debris, and then I had to start over—not from zero, but from less than zero.”

Sales Back to Pre-disaster Level

Despite the adversity, Itō managed to make quick progress toward recovery, first constructing three new rafts while commuting from temporary housing. Using young scallops ordered from Hokkaidō, he began cultivation again and has now built his way up to 10 rafts. And with government and other assistance he replaced his boat. This year’s sales, at about ¥10 million, were around the same level as before the 2011 disaster and at the end of last year, he was able to achieve a deeply held desire to build a house on high ground.

Itō Kazuyuki’s scallop harvest has returned to its pre-2011 level. “I worked as hard as I could after the disaster, and I’ve finally got to this stage.”

Itō’s face became a little more serious as he declared: “The pain won’t go away. Many of my friends have given up fishing since the disaster. But I couldn’t easily give up scallop cultivation after all those years and I had the will to succeed. I can see the light at last.”

Onagawa’s main industries before the disaster were fishing and seafood processing. Of these, the fishing industry in particular has made an amazing comeback. Cultivation of local specialties apart from scallops—ginzake salmon, oysters, and sea squirts—has been relatively quick to resume. And fishing of saury and other coastal species has recovered with almost no hitches. According to cooperative and town records, although the number of town residents involved in fishing has dropped from 570 before the disaster to 410 now, total sales for last fiscal year (April 2014–March 2015) came to ¥5.5 billion, topping the figure of slightly less than ¥5 billion for the year preceding the disaster. Onagawa is nearer to the many consumers in Sendai and fish traders in Ishinomaki than other fishing villages further north on the Sanriku Coast, and this has given it an advantage in restoring its delivery capabilities.

However, the increase in sales is mainly due to higher prices over the last few years. The catch itself is still only at around 80% of the total for before 2011, and today’s pressing issue is how to boost yields while maintaining the same price levels. This is because the town’s other major industry of seafood processing is dependent on a certain level of catch.

I spoke with Ishimori Yōetsu, vice president of the Onagawa Fish Market Buyers Cooperative, which is made up of local buyers of seafood for the processing industry: “Partly in the spirit of promoting recovery through mutual cooperation among the people of the town, we have been following an unwritten rule of submitting as high bids as possible. But the catch has still not recovered, and it was only this year that some of the seafood processing plants around the port finally started running again.” He added that there is no room for optimism.

Capital from Qatar Boosts Seafood Processing

Ishimori Yōetsu, vice president of the Onagawa Fish Market Buyers Cooperative: “Because Onagawa was all but washed away, it brought the people of the town together. We have lots of discussions, but move quickly once we reach a decision.

Even so, the wheels are definitely beginning to turn in the fishing industry, fish market, and seafood processing industry that support Onagawa. The high-tech multifunctional seafood processing plant Maskar has played a major role since its completion in autumn 2012. It was built at a cost of ¥2 billion with capital from the Qatar Friendship Fund, which was established by the emirate of Qatar to provide assistance in response to the 2011 disaster. The facility is designed to withstand even a tsunami of a once-in-a-century level. The first floor is for freight handling, the second has cold storage capacity for up to 6,000 tons of goods, and the third floor serves as an emergency evacuation area above tsunami level. The cooperative manages the facility, which is jointly used by firms in the processing industry.

Ishimori relaxed his visage as he explained: “We’ve been getting a stream of deliveries of saury, mackerel, salmon, bonito, and more, and the plant has been full since last autumn. Along with the train station, the plant has become a symbol of Onagawa’s revival. People in this town tend to be independent, and while they hold a deep sadness in their hearts, they want to use the symbol of this plant as a base to redevelop the town under their own steam. And things are gradually taking shape.”

Before the disaster, there were cold storage facilities with a total capacity of 53,000 tons in the town—nine times greater than Maskar. To make up the difference, the cooperative is currently building more facilities nearby.

The recovery of Onagawa’s port is well underway. The multifunctional seafood processing facility Maskar (left) maintains temperatures of minus 30 degrees Celsius in its freezer rooms (right). The name “Maskar” derives from a traditional Qatari fishing method.

Land Development Delays

Apart from the tsunami fatalities, many people moved away after the disaster, so the population of Onagawa has dropped from 10,000 to 7,000 and is continuing to shrink. Delays in the development of land for housing and the construction of subsidized public housing for disaster victims have left more than 2,100 people living in the temporary facilities put up after the quake and tsunami, which still have an overall occupancy rate of 80%. So far, only 25% of the planned 1,000 units of public housing have been completed. On my previous visit, in 2013, Mayor Suda Yoshiaki told me it would take five or six years to complete the public housing, but this time he said that the process of site development had been running more than three months behind schedule. He explained the situation and what the town was doing about it:

“The first problem was that we ran into a layer of solid bedrock that the initial boring survey didn’t find, and it also took time to acquire rights from the huge number of landowners. Then it required some effort to conduct construction work to deal with inundation caused by land subsidence. To avoid any further delays, we hope to reduce development time by reconsidering the methods being used and trying to devise new ones. We’re said to have recently become the first town in the tsunami-affected area to introduce blasting as a new way of breaking through the bedrock. Compared with relying on heavy machinery, it has certainly made the process quicker.”

Public housing built on high ground for disaster victims in Onagawa. Work on land development for additional units has fallen behind schedule, but the town government is striving to make up for lost time by adjusting its construction methods.

The reopening of the port is essential to the revitalization of the fishing industry. The wharfs and related facilities are due to be completed by the end of the current fiscal year, at which point the port will be basically ready to use. “After that, the recovery of the seafood processing industry, using fish and seafood caught locally, will be the key,” Mayor Suda said. “Over the next two years, we plan to finish developing sites for rebuilding plants and meeting expansion needs.”

Essential facilities are being completed, and the people and industries of Onagawa are starting to move again. Many difficulties lie on the road ahead, but the local administration, citizens, and outside contributors are achieving steady progress as they work more closely together.

(Originally written in Japanese and published on June 18, 2015. Banner photo: Onagawa Station reopened four years after the previous station building was washed away by the 2011 tsunami. The new station building was designed by award-winning architect Ban Shigeru. All photographs provided by the author.)

Rebuilding Onagawa

An Interview with Suda Yoshiaki, Mayor of the Tsunami-Devastated Town

Kikuchi Masanori [Profile]

 

[2015.06.29]Read in: 日本語 | 简体字 | 繁體字 |

Onagawa has recovered relatively quickly from the 2011 tsunami, despite being one of the hardest-hit communities. Journalist Kikuchi Masanori returns to the town to interview Mayor Suda Yoshiaki for the second time and see what has changed in the two years since they last talked.

Suda Yoshiaki

Suda YoshiakiBorn in Onagawa in 1972. After graduating from the School of Business Administration at Meiji University, he worked for an advertising agency before serving for three terms in the Miyagi Prefectural Assembly from 1999. In November 2011, he was elected mayor of Onagawa.

True Revival Still to Come

KIKUCHI MASANORI  Onagawa Station reopened in the town center this March, four years after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The port, which is particularly important for local industry, has made a remarkable recovery, and new seafood processing plants have been completed nearby. Would you say the path to revival is coming into focus?

MAYOR SUDA YOSHIAKI  No, that’s still to come. It’s true that the completion of the new station building is a big step, and it’s also encouraging that the core industries of fishing and seafood processing have rallied. Last fiscal year, ending in March 2015, total fishing sales for the town amounted to 5.5 billion yen, topping the figure of just under 5 billion yen for the year preceding the disaster. And total sales at Onagawa Fish Market are also higher than before the tsunami. These are both due to high fish prices. On the other hand, the volume of the catch is only 80 percent of what it was before. And the membership of the local fisheries cooperative has dropped by more than 20 percent with the loss of those who died in the disaster and of others who have closed down their businesses. So the situation continues to be tough.

For seafood processing, the most important thing is to ensure there is a big enough catch, so it’s essential to get the port completely up and running again as soon as possible. Wharf-related construction will largely be completed by the end of this fiscal year. And over the coming two years we’ll be working to raise the elevation of land and prepare it for construction so as to meet the demand for processing plant sites for local firms that are rebuilding and for firms from outside the town that want to put up new plants.

New Seafood Processing Plant’s Pivotal Role

SUDA  The multipurpose seafood processing facility Maskar was completed three years ago using capital provided by a Qatari foundation set up to support revitalization of communities affected by the 2011 disaster, and it’s being used for storage of goods by the seafood industry for the whole town. Having multiple firms share storage space increases the efficiency of the facility. The individual firms continue to compete with each other, but they’ve taken up on the idea of sharing some functions. This is a departure from their traditional way of doing business. In the sense that the town’s firms are competing as a team, I think this is a landmark innovation.

The town government has also adopted the system of private finance initiatives with the construction of a joint wastewater treatment facility that was just completed this April. We’re also considering ways of reducing power costs for the local seafood processing industry as a whole, such as by setting up a system under which it would purchase electricity collectively from power companies and distribute it to individual firms, using smart technology to manage each firm’s power usage.

Onagawa Station (left), which reopened four years after the previous station building was washed away in the tsunami, and the multifunctional seafood processing facility Maskar (right), built with the support of the Qatar Friendship Fund.

Public Housing Construction Delays

KIKUCHI  When I spoke to you two years ago, you said that the top priority was the construction of public housing for disaster victims. People started to move in to new units in 2014, as originally scheduled, but how has it been going with the construction of additional units?

SUDA  The first tenants moved in last spring, but the site development that needs to be completed before construction is taking longer than planned in some areas, causing delays of three to six months. Basically, we’re using heavy machinery to clear and level higher ground within the town for residential construction and using the earth from this process to raise the elevation of land within the town center and other areas near the coast. But we’ve encountered unexpected solid bedrock in many places, which is making the work difficult and time-consuming.

The town intends to build 1,000 units of public housing and so far 250 have been completed. This fiscal year, we plan to finish more than 300 additional units. We will build apartment complexes at a total 34 locations within the town. This includes one place where we quickly demolished the municipal athletic stadium and put up 200 units.

The complex task of acquiring land and property rights has also caused delays. Because of the huge number of owners involved, it’s a seemingly endless job, even with all the town workers going out. And we remain short of staff, so difficulties are inevitable. On the town’s islands and peninsulas, meanwhile, the terrain is steep, limiting the routes for transporting earth and sand, and this slows down the overall reconstruction process.

Blasting Through the Hard Ground

KIKUCHI  Land subsided by over one meter in coastal areas due to the earthquake. I heard that for some time after the disaster, many areas of the port remained flooded with seawater.

SUDA  A lot of the land that subsided remains at its lowered elevation. The town center is near the ocean, and while we are implementing anti-flooding measures, at the same time we have to move forward with construction, but the lowered elevation affects our work. When there’s heavy rainfall, such as from a typhoon, traffic throughout the town is paralyzed. Water washes in from the sea, and it blocks drainage of the water from inside the town.

In any case, we must avoid any further construction delays. We hope to reduce development time by reconsidering the methods being used and trying to devise new ones. In mid-May, we introduced blasting as a new way of breaking through the hard ground. We’re said to be the first town in the tsunami-affected area to adopt this method.

As construction material prices remain steep, we’re still seeing some cases where there are no successful bids for construction activities, but these are somewhat less common than before. We prepare budgets taking into account the ongoing high prices, and I believe we’re now doing well by comparison with other disaster-affected areas in terms of inviting successful bids.

Public housing built on high ground after the athletic stadium was demolished and the land cleared.

Nuclear Power Essential

KIKUCHI  There is still no prospect of the Onagawa Nuclear Power Station restarting. With the town struggling financially, would you like to get it running again as soon as possible for its tax revenues and other substantial benefits?

SUDA  The town’s initial budget for the 2015 fiscal year was 34 billion yen, which is nearly six times greater than for before the disaster. Funds are mostly allocated to land development, including rezoning, reshaping, and mass relocation for disaster prevention. Having fixed asset taxes and other revenue from the nuclear power station is certainly beneficial, but the town became eligible for local allocation tax grants two years ago, and this is serving as a revenue source. We’re also drawing more than 10 billion yen in fiscal adjustment funds, which is the same level as before the disaster. Fixed asset taxes from the nuclear plant are now 2 billion yen; this figure is falling at a pace of 0.1 to 0.2 billion yen a year due to depreciation.

Restarting the plant will definitely be possible once everything is in place. The Nuclear Regulation Authority will have to rigorously conduct the most important check for disaster resistance. Clearing strict standards is a major prerequisite. Personally, I think that nuclear power is essential for the moment, not just for Onagawa but for the whole country’s energy supply. It will take ten or twenty years to develop and expand usage of alternative energy sources.

Speaking of financial matters, the national government is currently talking about making local authorities shoulder some of the costs of reconstruction, which it has covered entirely until now. But the town is already carrying many costs, and I think the idea that shouldering this additional burden will somehow make us more self-reliant is peculiar. It isn’t that I don’t understand the national government’s point of view, but municipalities with strong financial resources like Sendai [the prefectural capital], for example, have already completed their recovery and are no longer bearing this sort of burden, so I find it accept the idea of shifting costs to municipalities facing difficult conditions and requiring more time for recovery.

A Compact Community

KIKUCHI  The town’s population has dropped by 30 percent since before the disaster. Does this affect community development?

SUDA  Population decline is a national trend, and Onagawa’s population would have decreased even without the tsunami. So what should we do? Our development efforts are now based on concentrating services to maintain vitality, which results in a compact community. Construction of a commercial area centering on Onagawa Station is underway, and a number of stores are now being built. From June, work began on a shopping district to be operated and administered by the private community development firm Onagawa Mirai Sōzō.

When the shopping district is completed with twenty-seven stores in December, the town will look very different. Ultimately there will be around fifty stores in the vicinity of the station. We are also planning to build the government office and other public facilities in the area. But it won’t be anything fancy like what you would see in a city. Both the station and the central shopping district will mainly serve to make the town more compact.

On March 1, 2015, Prince William of the United Kingdom visited a temporary shopping center in Onagawa, and Mayor Suda explained the town’s state of recovery to him. © Jiji

(Translated from an interview conducted in Japanese on June 1, 2015. All photographs provided by the author, unless otherwise stated.)

Sou Fujimoto hat das neue Kulturzentrum in Ishinomaki geplant

石巻市(仮称)複合文化施設 基本設計まとまる

大ホールやや縮小し1250席 8月2日夜 市民説明会

石巻市 教育・文化 石巻日日新聞 7月26日(水) 15時32分 配信

全景(南側)パース図

 石巻市は25日、平成32年度の完成を目指し開成地区に整備する(仮称)複合文化施設の基本設計を明らかにした。整備費用を考慮して基本計画よりも全体的に規模をやや縮小し、1300席程度としていた大ホールは50席減の1250席。市民の団体から規模拡大が要望されていた小ホールは、基本計画通りの300席とし、最大400席の確保は見送った。市は8月2日午後6時から、市役所で市民への概要説明会(申込不要)を開く。

複合文化施設は解体された市民会館と文化センターの代替として、大小ホールと生涯学習機能、博物館機能を備える。基本設計業務はプロポーザルにより藤本壮介建築設計事務所=東京都新宿区=が受託し、市民説明会やワークショップを踏まえて先月末にまとめた。

横長の2万2322平方メートルの敷地に、蔵が並ぶ昭和初期の市中心部をイメージした建物を整備する。建物は鉄骨造と鉄骨鉄筋コンクリート造で、建築延床面積は基本計画から98平方メートル減の1万3182平方メートル。

おおまかな施設の並びや外観は基本計画と同じで、1階は東側から大ホール、楽屋、小ホール、市民ギャラリー、常設展示室などの博物館エリア。建物の前面にエントランスエリアを横長に配し、アトリエや研修室などを分散して置く。2階は大会議室、収蔵庫などで、使い勝手を考慮して配置などを調整した。

大ホールは1階802席、2階が桟敷席、バルコニー席で448席の計画。座席数は市民会館(1362席)より減るが、狭かった座席間隔は標準的な仕様になる。音響を重視するほか、舞台には奈落から演者などを押し上げる小迫りを設置。中ホールとして使用しても空席が目立たないよう、今後の実施設計で仕切りなどの工夫を施す。

小ホールは移動観覧席200席と積み重ねが出できるイス100席の収容規模で、平面としての利用も可能。博物館エリアは文化センターの1、5倍の面積を確保した。

小ホールのロビー

小ホールのロビー

基本設計は市民代表などの復興推進会議で示された。市は今後、実施設計を発注し、建設用地にある仮設住宅の集約を図りながら来年秋の着工に向ける。総事業費は約130億円の見込み。

Katastrophe an Grundschule – Eltern von Tsunami-Opfern werden nach fünf Jahren entschädigt

Es war eine Fehlentscheidung mit katastrophalen Folgen: Weil eine japanische Schule ihre Kinder 2011 nicht vor dem Tsunami in Sicherheit brachte, starben Dutzende Kinder. Die Eltern bekommen jetzt eine Entschädigung.

30.10.2016, von PATRICK WELTER, TOKIO

© DPANach dem Tsunami gefunden: Schultaschen aus der Okawa Okawa-Grundschule in Ishinomaki.

Eine der schrecklichsten Tragödien während der Tsunami-Katastrophe im Norden Japans im Jahr 2011 ist die Geschichte der Okawa-Grundschule in Ishinomaki. Nach dem Beben der Stärke 9 um 14.46 Uhr gab es in der Stadt Aufrufe zur Evakuierung, weil ein Tsunami drohte. Doch die Lehrer der Schule, die vier Kilometer vom Meer entfernt an einem Fluss liegt, zögerten. Etwa 30 Kinder wurden von ihren Eltern abgeholt und in Sicherheit gebracht. Die Eltern schlugen den Lehrern vor, mit den anderen Kindern auf den nahegelegenen bewaldeten Berg zu flüchten. Auch manche Kinder sollen gefleht haben, an den Hang laufen zu dürfen.

Aber die Lehrer hielten die Kinder für 45 Minuten auf dem Schulhof, bevor sie die Evakuierung in Richtung höheren Geländes begannen. Das war zu spät. Gegen 15.30 Uhr an jenem Nachmittag des 11. März erreichte eine mehr als zehn Meter hohe Tsunami-Welle die Küste von Ishinomaki. Nur vier der 76 Schüler, die noch an der Schule waren, und nur einer von elf Lehrern überlebte. Er nahm sich später das Leben.

Ein Bezirksgericht in Sendai hat nun den Eltern von 23 Kindern eine Entschädigung von insgesamt 1,4 Milliarden Yen (12 Millionen Euro) zugesprochen, weil die städtische Schule die Kinder nicht angemessen in Sicherheit gebracht habe. Zahlen sollen die Stadt Ishinomaki und die Präfektur Miyagi. Ishinomaki will gegen das Urteil Berufung einlegen. „Die Schule hätte die Kinder auf den Berg hinter der Schule bringen müssen“, urteilte der Richter.

„Das Urteil wird in Zukunft Leben retten“

Die Entschädigung ist niedriger als die geforderten 2,3 Milliarden Yen. Die Verteidigung hatte argumentiert, dass die Schule außerhalb der bekannten Tsunami-Warnzonen lag. Bei früheren Tsunami-Wellen im Jahr 1896 und 1933 war das Gebiet nicht überflutet worden. Im März 2011 aber waren das Erdbeben und der Tsunami stärker als zuvor.„Das Urteil wird in Zukunft Leben retten, auch wenn unsere Kinder nie wieder zu uns zurückkehren werden“, sagte Hiroyuki Konno, der seinen zwölf Jahre alten Sohn Daisuke an der Schule verlor. Er versprach wie weitere klagende Eltern, sich weiter für die Aufklärung der Tragödie und für bessere Evakuierungsregeln einzusetzen. Andere Familien hatten sich an der Klage nicht beteiligt. Einer dieser Elternteile sagte vor dem Gerichtssaal: „Ich kann die Lehrer, die gestorben sind, nicht beschuldigen.“

In den Tsunami-Gebieten im Nordosten Japans sind mehr als ein Dutzend Klagen anderer Familien von Opfern anhängig, darunter gegen einen Kindergarten und eine Fahrschule. Bei der Katastrophe kamen 15.894 Menschen ums Leben. 2556 Personen werden noch vermisst. Die Stadt Ishinomaki kündigte im März an, dass die Ruine der Okawa-Grundschule als Denkmal erhalten bleiben soll.

Disaster preparation course to be mandatory for aspiring teachers

JIJI

The education ministry plans to make university students training to become teachers take classes on how to respond to safety threats at schools.

The initiative to make the safety classes a mandatory course partly reflects the Okawa Elementary School tsunami deaths in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture. The school saw 74 pupils die on March 11, 2011, when it was engulfed by giant waves spawned by the magnitude-9.0 earthquake.

In October, a district court ordered municipal governments to pay about ¥1.426 billion in damages to the families of 23 of the children killed, finding the municipal school liable for failing to evacuate them appropriately. Both the plaintiffs and defendants are appealing the ruling.

The ministry hopes to improve the knowledge and skills of teacher hopefuls so they can protect children during incidents and natural disasters, officials said.

It aims to make school safety responses a mandatory subject in fiscal 2019, following amendments to the School Teacher’s License Act and a relevant ministry ordinance, the officials said.

In a report compiled in 2014, a committee that looked into the tsunami deaths at Okawa Elementary highlighted the belated decision of its staff to evacuate the children. The staff as a whole lacked sufficient knowledge of tsunami preparations and responses as well as of crisis management, the report said, proposing that education on disaster preparation and response be made a compulsory subject for would-be teachers.

The Central Council for Education, which advises the education minister, in a 2015 proposal aimed at improving teachers’ capabilities urged that school safety measures be studied as part of a required course. It would be desirable for all school teachers and other staff to have qualities for adequate and appropriate responses in a natural disaster, the proposal said.

Once amendments to the School Teacher’s License Act are enacted, the ministry plans to start work to revise the ordinance to enforce the law, which lays down subjects and credits for teacher-training courses at universities. It wants to start enforcing the revision as soon as March.

Universities individually need to file for approval to teach specific content on school safety. The new teacher-training course curriculum is not expected to start before fiscal 2019.

Education on school safety is also expected to be included in the guidelines for the minimum content of education for teacher-training courses the ministry is drawing up.

Some universities are already offering classes on disaster preparation and crisis management.

Students at Hokkaido University of Education in Sapporo can take a half-year elective course in which they take classes to learn basic knowledge, including types of natural disasters, preparations and responses by the central and local governments, and how to read maps.

In field work, students create maps for disaster preparation and response that indicate evacuation shelters and highlight key points to watch for during evacuations.

Currently, the subject is not available due to organizational reforms at the university, but the school hopes to restart it soon, officials said.

“It’s crucial to make students aware of the importance of protecting themselves and the people around them during natural disasters, which can strike at any time,” Takako Sasaki, professor of home economics at the faculty of education, said. “It’s also important for students to think about what they should do for the same end.”

New Policy: After 115 children killed in disaster

08/13/2011

By 

TOKYO (majirox news) — Japan’s Ministry of Education is reviewing its policy that allows schools to hand over students to their guardians during a disaster after 115 children at 33 elementary, junior high and special support schools were killed in the tsunami following the earthquake at Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures in northeastern Japan, according to the Mainichi newspaper.Many children survived because they remained at the schools and took shelter on the top floors and on higher grounds. In fact, all the student at nine schools that were flooded survived.

In the city of Minamisoma, Fukushima prefecture, ten school children were lost after being released to their parents and then being caught in the tsunami, even though the school authorities had warned them that they shouldn’t go near the sea.

In Shichi-machi, at Chouritsu Elementary, Fukushima prefecture, a brother and sister left the school while the tsunami warning was being broadcast and were also lost.

At Togura Junior High School, one student fell while leaving school, and the tsunami pulled him away.

In the city of Ishinomaki at Kamasho Elementary, 22 children died after they were handed over to their guardians. An official from the school said there was no broadcast warning them of the tsunami. The children were going home when the tidal wave hit them.

At another school that did receive warnings, 74 children were swept away by the tsunami because teachers were discussing evacuation plans for 40 minutes on the playground of their elementary school in the city of Okawa Ishinomaki in Miyagi prefecture.

The problem is that there is no clear disaster policy, according to the Ministry of Education. Letting parents take children from the school during a disaster was a procedure established mainly for elementary schools.

“It is necessary to do a thorough study of appropriate times for releasing children to their parents,” according to the ministry. “The last time it was discussed was in 1996, and no conclusions were reached.”

Professor Marumitsu Murosaki of Kansai Gakuin University, referring to the City Disaster Prevention Study, told the Mainichi, “The deaths of these children occurred because there was no clear policy in the three prefectures.”

After reviewing the disaster response policies of the schools, it is crucial to immediately devise a standard disaster policy, noted the Ministry of Education.