三陸復興 | Sanriku Fukkou

Deutsch-Japanisches Synergie Forum (DJSF) Sanriku Fukkou e.V.

三陸復興 | Sanriku Fukkou

2. Problem beim Wiederaufbau – Sozialer Wohnungsbau

In Rikuzentakata ist ein Gebäudekomplex bestehend aus 3 acht – und drei 9 geschossigen Apartmenthäusern mit 301 Sozialwohnungen. Wahrscheinlich werden davon 206 bezogen, ca. 25% werden allein lebende ältere Personen sein. 95 Wohnungen werden leerstehen. Die Vereinsamung ist vorprogrammiert.
Ein weiteres Problem ist, dass die Feuerwehr bisher nur Leitern für 15 Meter

hohe Gebäude besitzt (5 stöckige Gebäude). Diese Gebäude sind doppelt so hoch. Die Leitern müssen beschafft werden und die Feuerwehr muss geschult werden.



2016年08月01日 月曜日



Otsuchi, Return of a Perilous Beauty


A March 2015 view of the progress of the incremental landfill operations in centrol Otsuchi that began in 2013 after debris-clearing. To the left is the district of Ando, with its fishing jetty protruding into the harbor; across the Kozuchi River to the right is Nobematsu, now connected by a temporary span that replaced the original bridge and its six-meter high floodgates.
A tsunami-battered town tries to get back on its feet: struggle, conflict, bureaucracy and, yes, hope.


by Charles Pomeroy

Not all has gone smoothly in the town of Otsuchi as it struggles to recover from the tsunami devastation wreaked upon it five years ago. (See my story, “The Perilous Beauty of Otsuchi,” in the April, 2011 edition of No. 1 Shimbun.) For starters, the loss of its mayor, Koki Kato, together with key department heads and the more than 30 experienced staff that made up a quarter of the town’s civil servants meant that there was no one to immediately get to work on a master plan for recovery. It wasn’t until January 2012 that a draft was finally completed, under a new mayor, Yutaka Ikarigawa.

Mayor Ikarigawa was faced with a number of tough issues, from organizing housing for survivors to sorting out land problems for the dead and missing. And over the next several years some progress was made, including a partial revival of the fisheries industry and construction of new residences to replace the temporary structures housing survivors.

But two key projects in the master plan led to discontent, as the long-range view of those who had forged the plan clashed with the more immediate desires of the survivors. One was a plan to raise the ground level in central Otsuchi by 2.5 meters; the other, to build a huge seawall 14.5 meters high.

After months of uncertainty, many displaced townspeople could not wait another six years and departed for other locales.

The plan to raise the ground level, intended as a safeguard against smaller tsunami and future rises in the sea level, will bring it up to the level of the entry road from National Highway 45 and the new town offices, formerly the burned-out elementary school. It is a six-year project, started in 2012 with debris clearing, followed by incremental landfill scheduled through 2016, and finally ending with a year of waiting for it all to settle before rebuilding can begin in 2018. But after months of uncertainty following the tsunami, many displaced townspeople could not wait another six years and departed for other locales.

THE PLAN TO BUILD the huge seawall – favored by Tokyo bureaucrats, but with the responsibility in the hands of the prefecture – has yet to get underway. Strong doubts have been expressed about its usefulness in protecting the town against future, perhaps even larger, tsunami. Critics also say that any concrete structure of this kind will deteriorate and require replacement in 50 years, which will mean another huge outlay of tax money. They prefer an enhanced system of tsunami alerts and evacuation routes, which are already included in the master plan for central Otsuchi.

In particular, opposition was voiced by the fisheries folk in Akahama, which is also home to Tokyo University’s International Coastal Research Center (ICRC). Akahama also has a walkway to Horaijima, an islet known to most Japanese from a popular 1960s NHK puppet program Hyokkori Hyotan-jima that featured a popular theme song. Many of its residents were lost in the 2011 tsunami, opponents said, because the earlier seawall at 6.5 meters had blocked their view of the “drawback” – receding water from the harbor that preceded the onslaught – that would have alerted them to seek higher ground. In their opinion, a seawall 14.5 meters high would just make such future situations even worse.

Opponents had their point made for them with the release in April, 2015, of a documentary by director Haruko Konishi, titled Akahama Rock’n Roll. The film makes a strong case for the more traditional fishery environment rather than a high seawall. Even Akie Abe, the prime minister’s wife, expressed sympathy for the opponents’ cause at a UN Disaster Prevention Conference in Sendai last year, according to newspaper reports.

After losing almost 10 percent of its 15,239 citizens to the tsunami (one of the largest losses among the affected towns), Otsuchi’s population continues to drop. In fact, it had fallen by 23.2 percent by the end of 2015, according to a report in Asahi Shimbun. This is far and away the largest decrease among the coastal communities affected by the tsunami, with the next highest being Rikuzentakata at 15.2 percent. The reasons were various. Some former residents who had evacuated to inland towns just opted not to return to the gutted community. But the biggest hit came from the post-tsunami exodus of younger people looking for work or schooling elsewhere.
Today, Otsuchi has become a town occupied mostly by retirees and transient workers.

Aside from cleanup and landfill work and rebuilding, long-term jobs that can help persuade locals to stay are in short supply to this day. Although the partially recovered fishery industry continues to offer opportunities, these jobs seem to offer little appeal for the younger generation. And though MAST – Otsuchi’s major shopping center that attracted many residents of surrounding communities – reopened in December 2011, its consumer base began eroding after 2013 as a result of increasing competition from shopping centers in nearby towns, especially the Aeon shopping center in nearby Kamaishi.

Driving home the reality of a shrinking population was the merger of three elementary schools in April 2013. Today, Otsuchi has become a town occupied mostly by retirees and transient workers.

TO ENCOURAGE REBUILDING IN Otsuchi, government subsidies totaling ¥5 million are on offer to qualifying families. But no rebuilding can take place in the town center until 2018, and those who want to build in other areas face escalating construction costs. That is assuming, of course, that a construction company can be found, for even local governments are having difficulty in obtaining bids for their projects. Costs have been rising not only from demand in the stricken areas of Sanriku, but also from the general upgrading of the national infrastructure by the Abe administration, a situation further aggravated by the decision to hold the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

These developments have fed growing cynicism among survivors all along the Sanriku coast. Many sense they are being abandoned, or at least having their futures downgraded in favor of other government projects. These feelings have only increased following the decision to hold the Olympics. And when the central government recently announced an end to the intensive five-year phase of Tohoku reconstruction and a reduction in such funds for the next five-year phase from fiscal 2016, this only added to their pessimism.

Despite these negatives, one of our family members, a brother-in-law in his mid-60s who spent most of his adult life in Tokyo, returned to Otsuchi after retiring in 2015. He now works part time to supplement his retirement income while looking for new opportunities in his hometown. So far he has found none.

Many sense they are being abandoned, or at least having their futures downgraded in favor of other government projects.

Still, all is not lost, and perhaps the long-range planning of Ikarigawa’s experts, representing central and prefectural governments as well as academia and knowledgeable locals, will see a new dawning in Otsuchi. But he won’t be in a position to lead it. Difficulties with his master plan’s implementation eventually led to his defeat in the August 2015 election. His victorious opponent, Kozo Hirano, ran on a platform calling for a review of the planned reconstruction projects.

In addition to the slow but ongoing recovery of the fisheries, positive signs include the revival of the old railway line by Sanriku Railways in 2021 and the completion of the new Sanriku coastal expressway in 2022. Both will make Otsuchi more accessible for commerce and tourism as well as much easier to live in, especially for students who had pleaded for a return of the railway to enable commuting to schools in other towns. This should also increase the town’s attraction for families with school-age children.

OUR HOME WAS AMONG the 3,359 in Otsuchi destroyed by the tsunami. My wife Atsuko and I plan to begin rebuilding in 2018 on our small parcel of land at the southern edge of the central district, which will allow us to continue our retirement that began there in 2004. It will again put us within a five-minute walk of the family gravesite at Dainenji, and give us easy access to that mountain’s scenic hiking trail.

Sadly, we will no longer be joined on these hikes by our favorite companion, Atsuko’s elder sister, Noriko, who had lived nearby. She and her husband, Yuji, were both lost to the tsunami. Her remains were not identified until August of 2011 and his were never found. The addition of her ashes to the family gravesite has made our visits for the annual Obon Buddhist observances even more poignant.

Half of our neighbors were also lost to the tsunami and, apparently, none among the surviving families will return. So we will start afresh with new neighbors, but bedrock support from Atsuko’s brother and other relatives as well as friends dating back to her childhood.

The author’s feature on Otsuchi in the April 2011 earthquake special.

And with any luck, some of our favorite local shops will restart their businesses. In particular, I would like to see the reappearance of Akabu Sakaya, which made it a point to keep my favorite gin and vermouth in stock. ❶

Charles Pomeroy retired from journalism 12 years ago. He is the author of Tsunami Reflections—Otsuchi Remembered.


検証変貌するまち>読めぬ集客 出店迷う








Kinder in Tohoku, fast 5 Jahre nach dem Tsunami

Wie geht es den Kindern in den zerstörten Gebieten? Haben sie die Erinnerungen an den Tsunami und den Verlust von nahe stehenden Verwandten und Freunden verarbeitet? Wie verläuft der Alltag in den vorübergehenden Gebäuden der Ersatzschule und das Leben im Container. Es gibt keinen Platz, in Ruhe Schularbeiten zu machen.


Plutonium-Fabrik verzögert sich bis 2018

30. November 2015 von

Plutonium-Fabrik verzögert sich bis 2018

Tokio (JAPANMARKT/fr) – Die japanische Wiederaufbereitungsanlage für abgebrannte nukleare Brennelemente geht erst im Herbst 2018 in Betrieb. Stur wird an der Plutonium-Fabrik festgehalten, obwohl sie sich nur noch schwer rechtfertigen lässt.

Neue Sicherheitsauflagen

Der Start der über 15 Milliarden teuren Fabrik zum Recycling von Plutonium im nördlichen Küstenort Rokkasho wurde damit zum 22. Mal verschoben. Eigentlich sollte die Fabrik schon 1997 fertig sein. Doch lange Zeit gab es Probleme mit dem Einglasen des Atommülls. Jetzt muss die Fabrik noch die nach dem Fukushima-Unfall verschärften Sicherheitsauflagen erfüllen.

Wegen der riesigen Mengen von hochradioaktiven Flüssigkeiten und dem komplexen Leitungssystem ist die Anlage besonders durch Beben und Tsunami gefährdet. Außerdem braucht die Anlage ein zweites, doppelt so großes Kontrollzentrum, das im felsigen Untergrund verankert werden muss. Das bisherige Kontrollzentrum wurde erst 2011 errichtet.

Kreislauf ohne Schnellen Brüter

Die Fabrik wurde ursprünglich für einen geschlossenen Brennstoffkreislauf aus Uran und Plutonium gebaut, der im Jahr 2100 zustande kommen sollte. Dafür wollte Japan auch Schnelle Brüter entwickeln. Doch der einzige Versuchsbrüter Monju ist ein technisches und finanzielles Desaster. Das Aus für den Brüter ist wohl nur noch eine Frage der Zeit.

Dennoch wird die Kreislaufidee in Japan nicht hinterfragt, weil sie Autarkie in Energiefragen verspricht. Statt in Schnellen Brütern will man das recycelte Plutonium in MOX-Brennelementen, die aus Uran und Plutonium bestehen, weiter nutzen. Die dafür notwendige Fabrik – ebenfalls in Rokkasho – verzögert sich jedoch bis mindestens 2019.

Atommüll außer Kontrolle

Ein zweiter Grund für das sture Festhalten an der Wiederverwendung von Plutonium ist der wachsende Atommüll von Japan. Die provisorischen Zwischenlager in den Reaktoren sind in wenigen Jahren voll, auch in Rokkasho ist bald kein Platz für die angelieferten Brennstäbe mehr. Die Fabrik würde daraus jedes Jahr 9 Tonnen Plutonium produzieren und die Zahl der abgebrannten Brennelemente damit reduzieren.

Doch die meisten Experten sind sich einig, dass es angesichts der niedrigen Uranpreise und der teuren Wiederaufarbeitung wenig Sinn ergibt, Plutonium zu extrahieren. Je weniger Atomkraftwerke es zudem gibt, desto weniger rechnet sich die Wiederaufarbeitung. Für den Stromkunden wäre es billiger, wenn die abgebrannten Brennelemente sofort zwischen- bzw. endgelagert würden. Dennoch gibt es niemanden in Japan, der diesen Vorschlag macht.

Ein Grund dafür ist, dass alle Experten für die Atomindustrie arbeiten. Als zweiten Grund nennen Beobachter, dass ein funktionierendes Zwischenlager für Atommüll fehlt, geschweige denn ein Endlager. Doch es gibt Druck aus dem Ausland: Japan hat 48 Tonnen Plutonium angehäuft – genug für fast 6.000 Atombomben. China und Korea misstrauen daher Japans Erklärung, dass man damit Brennstoff für Atomkraftwerke produzieren will.


Disaster-hit Fukushima town to design reconstruction hub

The town of Okuma in Fukushima Prefecture, which houses the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant and where the majority of residential areas have been designated as „difficult-to-return zones,“ is designing a new sub-town in the form of a reconstruction hub, which will be located in residential zones with comparatively low radiation levels.

It is envisioned that the new zone will encompass a total area of around 40 hectares — around 0.5 percent of the town as a whole — and will house some 3,000 residents.

The Okuma town mayoral race, during which the need for the new residential area should by all accounts be raised as an issue to be questioned, was announced on Nov. 5. There are no likely candidates, however, other than sitting incumbent Toshitsuna Watanabe.

Even Watanabe himself has said, „I had actually hoped to retire and pass along the job to someone younger“ — a statement belying his true feelings, which only goes to show how fraught with difficulties the road ahead truly is.

„I plan to take on the task of implementing local development so that residents can feel their hometown is moving toward recovery one step at a time,“ commented Watanabe, 68, who is seeking a third term in office, in his first campaign speech on the morning of Nov. 5 in the Fukushima prefectural city of Aizuwakamatsu, which is located some 100 kilometers west of Okuma.

A temporary building for the Okuma town government has been set up in Aizuwakamatsu, where around 1,500 Okuma residents are additionally living in temporary housing facilities.

Okuma’s population stood at 10,778 as of the end of October, with 23 percent of the town’s residents having evacuated outside of Fukushima Prefecture — mostly within the Kanto region.

The designated „difficult-to-return zones“ — whose prospects for residents ever being able to go back are unclear — comprise some 62 percent of the town’s total area, and around 96 percent of its residential districts.

In September of last year, the town agreed to be one of the locations to host temporary storage for radioactively contaminated soil and other materials resulting from radiation decontamination work — with the area targeted for the facility covering around one-third of the town’s residential area.

Even so, some residents — the majority of them elderly individuals — insist that they wish to return to Okuma. It was within this context that the town government announced plans in March of this year to construct the new, smaller town in Okuma’s residential Ogawara district, which is designated as a restricted residence area where decontamination work has been carried out for residents to return within a few years.

New facilities are targeted to be built within an agricultural area of around 40 hectares in the new zone, including office buildings and research centers for the nuclear reactor decommissioning projects, as well as disaster recovery public housing for local residents.

The plan envisages around 2,000 reactor decommissioning workers living in the area in three years‘ time, along with some 1,000 Okuma locals, mainly elderly residents, returning to the town.

While the town government had at one time considered constructing a local elderly care facility, this plan was rejected due to the likelihood that not enough employees could be recruited to work there.

In addition, the town has no plans to rebuild elementary or junior high schools, with few parents bringing their children back to live in the town due to fears regarding the effects of radiation.

„Those who return here will likely be elderly individuals living on their own,“ commented a high-ranking town official. „For such people who have the desire to live here, we wanted to give them hope.“

Watanabe began telling others last autumn that he planned to retire as mayor, saying that his „back pain makes it difficult to work.“

Every town assembly member that he approached as a possible successor, however, declined — citing the numerous problems with local administration that made the job appear too daunting. Eventually, Watanabe was convinced to change his mind about retiring.

When he announced his candidacy at the beginning of October, with less than one month left before the deadline to do so, he let slip the comment that „things really aren’t seeming to go my way.“

A man in his 60s who is living in temporary housing in Aizuwakamatsu said, „Plans need to be put into place so that people who wish to return home may do so.“

He added apprehensively, however, „I wonder if a town that has no children and only elderly residents can actually work.“

November 05, 2015 (Mainichi Japan)

被災地負担、反対相次ぐ 復興相、首長らと会談 復興予算













Fighting to recover from the ocean’s wrath



On April 11, Wataru Takeshita, the minister for reconstruction of the areas most seriously affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake, met in Kamaishi with local government representatives to discuss the budget for Iwate Prefecture. After the meeting, the mayor of Kamaishi spoke to the press and said Takeshita told them the central government would continue paying for reconstruction work through next year, but after that he expected the prefecture and municipalities to cover part of the burden themselves.

“Please understand that the money we spend on reconstruction is from taxes levied on people nationwide,” Takeshita reportedly said during the meeting, which was closed to the media.

According to an article in the Asahi Shimbun, the local governments in attendance rejected the minister’s remarks, mainly because he neglected to go into detail about how much of a burden he was talking about and what sorts of things they would be paying for. The mayor of the city of Rikuzentakata seemed offended by the government attitude.

“They must discuss our financial situation and the reconstruction process,” he told an Asahi reporter. “Otherwise, we can’t envision a future for ourselves.”

Rikuzentakata is currently spending ¥30 billion to elevate levees and prepare higher ground for new residential housing, an amount equivalent to 2.7 times its whole annual budget. “And we still have to build schools and a new city hall,” he added.

Takeshita seemed oblivious to the resistance. He told reporters that he and the local governments “came to a common understanding” regarding division of reconstruction costs. A prefectural representative tried to point out that the municipalities weren’t saying “the central government should pay for everything and we pay nothing,” only that there had been no substantive discussion about what would happen after the current reconstruction budget expired in 2016.

As the Asahi presented the story, it read like a classic instance of official condescension, but the situation is more complicated. The report implies that the local governments formed a united front, but as the vice mayor of the town of Otsuchi said, the degree of damage suffered and the amount of reconstruction required differs from one place to another. By treating all the local governments the same way, the agency effectively demonstrates a lack of imagination and coordination, while the media gives the impression that money is the only issue.

Otsuchi, in fact, is the subject of a new documentary by Haruko Konishicalled “Akahama Rock’n Roll.” Akahama is the district closest to the sea and the one that contains the town’s fishing industry. One-10th of Akahama’s residents died in the 2011 tsunami or remain missing. The central subject of the film is the surviving residents’ objections to the central government’s plan to build a 14.5-meter-high seawall along the edge of the community. The rest of the town approved the seawall, or, at least, didn’t object to it.

The budget for construction was set in January 2012, when the town’s residents were still in shock from the disaster and hadn’t had time to think over the plans carefully. Since then, the people of Akahama decided that a better idea would be to move homes in the district to higher ground. The seawall, they contend, causes more problems than it solves. The tsunami, after all, was 22 meters high, so 14.5 meters may not do any good, but in any case, the fishermen of Akahama need to have constant visual contact with the ocean, and not just for the sake of their livelihoods. One reason so many people died in the tsunami was that they didn’t see it coming, since there was already a seawall blocking their line of sight, and that one was only 6.5 meters high.

Akahama is too small to attract the interest of the mass media, but Konishi managed to enlist one powerful supporter: Akie Abe, the wife of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. At the U.N. Disaster Prevention Conference in Sendai in March, she raised the matter of the seawall during an awards ceremony, saying that if you have to destroy the environment in order to safeguard a community from the forces of nature, then something is wrong. Since then, the movie and Akahama have been featured in a number of newspaper articles.

Konishi divides her footage between two principals: Tsutomu Abe (no relation to the prime minister), a fisherman who went back to work a few days after the tsunami, even though it killed his father, and Hiromi Kawaguchi, chairman of the Akahama Reconstruction Committee, who spearheads the local resistance to the seawall. This dual narrative approach toggles between the political aspects of the issue and the less concrete cultural ones.

Abe the fisherman represents the community’s soul, a man whose close relationship with the sea is primal. The tsunami was a tragedy, but, as he says over and over, you can’t fight nature.

“As long as our lives are connected to the ocean,” his mother says, “we have to be here.” And what’s the point of being here if you can’t see the water? When your life is dependent on the sea, you make peace with it as best you can.

People, however, are another matter, and it’s Kawaguchi’s job to fight the powers that try to tell him and those he represents what is best for them. Once the bureaucracy has a notion in its head, it’s difficult to change, and his fellow committee members, worn down by the subtle but relentless force of authority, seem willing to compromise, but Kawaguchi isn’t.

“Life comes from the sea,” he says. “And keeping the sea separate from us destroys life.”

If Konishi’s purpose is to show how a community’s desires should not be discounted even if those desires place it at risk, her movie acutely points out how specific needs can’t be summarily dismissed by logic or taken care of by charity.

“I’m not interested in people’s sympathy,” says Abe as he shucks oysters. “I just want to sell my products.”

Major companies continue to support Tohoku region




Right after the earthquake and tsunami hit northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011, volunteer individuals and groups rushed to provide assistance.

Many were one-off efforts and gradually, the number of volunteer activities decreased in the four years that followed, but enthusiastic volunteer efforts remain on various levels — be it by individuals, nonprofit organizations or firms.

Regarding firms, large amounts of donations were collected, and large domestic and foreign firms, as part of their corporate social responsibility, or CSR, plans, undertook volunteer activities.

Panasonic Corp., headquartered in Osaka, is one such firm that has continued its CSR efforts in Tohoku.

“As a company, we feel that CSR activities in the devastated areas should not be just temporary, but continuous. We want to make the right effort by listening to the demands of the people in the disaster-hit areas,” said public relations officer Yayoi Watanabe.

“More recently, we have been putting a strong emphasis on supporting the next generation — the young,” she said.

Regarding young people, “Kitto waraeru 2021″ (No doubt you can smile in 2021) is a program aimed at bringing smiles back to children’s faces, through the loaning of audiovisual equipment from Panasonic, allowing the students to film two videos: “What they want to tell people now” and “A message for themselves 10 years on.”

The program has been carried out in 19 elementary and junior high schools in Iwate, Fukushima, and Miyagi prefectures since September 2011, with volunteer staff from the company giving advice to students on the technical part of the filming process.

The Tokyo branch of U.S. securities company Morgan Stanley is another firm that has been supporting the people in Tohoku after the disaster, assisting with a wide range of volunteer programs.

Since June 2011, company employees have engaged in onsite recovery efforts to support communities in quake-hit areas.

Specifically, volunteer staff from the company spent several weekends right after the disaster, taking part in onsite recovery efforts in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, removing debris from houses and gardens and clearing mud out of street gutters.

“We expanded our volunteer leave allowance to provide employees the opportunity to engage in earthquake-related volunteer activities. We allowed employees to take up to five days of leave until December 2012, instead of only one day, which was the original policy,” said a Morgan Stanley spokesman.

Additionally, in collaboration with Second Harvest Japan, a nonprofit organization specializing in sending food to those in need, including disaster-hit areas, nearly 100 employees volunteered to pack and send a total of five tons of food to the disaster-hit areas.

Employees also gathered to pack and send sewing materials to the nonprofit organization “Arts for Hope,” to help its doll-making therapy sessions held in evacuation centers for children and the elderly.

More recently, in October last year, a team of Morgan Stanley employees volunteered for a weekend playground-building event in Fukushima Prefecture.

Together with kindergarten staff, parents, the local Lions Club and staff from nonprofit organization Playground of Hope, they built a new playground for Fukushima Lumbini Kindergarten, a preschool in Fukushima.

The team of 60 moved 20 tons of dirt to create a solid foundation for a play structure with towers, a slide and vividly colored benches.

Money for the playground was collected through donations at the company’s annual charity drive.

The company has also supported a reforestation project in Chiba with its joint venture partner, Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities, participating in reforestation volunteer programs organized by nonprofit organization “Mori no Lifestyle Kenkyujo” (Forest Lifestyle Laboratory).

The project aims to restore the coastal forest, which had served to protect the local community from the impact of seaside winds and flooding, but was destroyed by the tsunami.

In April 2012, 60 employees and family members joined other volunteers to plant 6,000 saplings in the affected area. A total of over 220 employees and family members from both companies have made five visits to the same area in Chiba since then.

Some Tohoku disaster areas on fast track to rebuilding while others stuck in slow lane


Es wird noch zwei Jahre dauern, bis hier – in Rikuzentakata – am Meer Geschäfte gebaut werden können  – mithilfe dieser gigantischen Transportanlage wird die Erde, die auf einem Berg abgetragen wird, auf die Ebene gefördert. Mit LKWs hätte es ca. 10 Jahre gedauert. – Aber ist dieser auf 10 – bzw auf 14 m angehäufte Grund so stabil, dass er bebaut werden kann – wie viel Zeit muss er sacken und wie häufig verdichtet werden? Auf der Ebene dürfen nur Geschäftshäuser errichtet werden – das bedeutet für die Menschen zwei Mieten – einmal für die Wohnung auf dem Berg, einmal für das Geschäft. In den temporären Einkaufszentren sind viele Händler schon über 65 Jahre – sie können sich die beiden Mieten nicht leisten, müssen aber irgendetwas weiter arbeiten – immer noch viele Probleme, die man auch mit High Tech nicht lösen kann.



This is the first of a five-part series on the lingering impact of the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster on the three hardest-hit prefectures in the Tohoku region.

“Bridge of Hope” is the name of a temporary span over the Kesen River in Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture.

It connects a hill where construction is underway to create a residential area on high ground and to raise a low-lying coastal zone where 4,045 dwellings were destroyed by gigantic tsunami on March 11, 2011.

The bridge is not for people. Built in front of the city’s symbolic “miracle pine tree” that survived the tsunami when the rest of its grove was swept away, the temporary bridge is a link in a 3-km-long conveyor belt system that carries 40,000 tons of soil and gravel — the equivalent of 4,000 10-ton truckloads — from the hill every day.

Four years ago, 18-meter-high tsunami hit the coastal city and killed 1,556 residents; 207 are still listed as missing.

The waves also devastated the city’s famous oyster farms and a pine forest the government had designated as one of 100 locations nationwide of special scenic beauty.

Rikuzentakata is one part of the Tohoku region aiming to fast-track its rebirth and become a safer place to live.

To that end, the city is building two seawalls 1.8 km long, one 3 meters high and the other 12.5 meters, as part of efforts to mitigate the threat of future tsunami. It is also elevating the land in the coastal zone by some 10 meters.

Thanks to the conveyor belt system built in March 2014 by general contractor Shimizu Corp. at a cost of ¥12 billion, the city can shorten the time it will take for the reconstruction work from an initially planned nine years to two.

Besides being efficient, the conveyor system offers hope to the tsunami survivors waiting to get back to a semblance of normalcy, Rikuzentakata Mayor Futoshi Toba said.

“Thanks to the eye-catching machine that symbolizes the reconstruction by operating every day, survivors can experience step-by-step progress,” he said, adding that the conveyor system, which has rarely been used for ordinary construction work, has also drawn sightseers.

Seeing the progress with their own eyes is “much more encouraging for people” than what officials can do behind closed doors, the mayor said.

Rikuzentakata’s progress represents Tohoku’s hopes — and struggles — to reconstruct life as usual.

With most of the tsunami debris disposed of by last March, except for in some no-go-zone and evacuation areas in Fukushima Prefecture where radioactive decontamination work is still underway, Tohoku has finally started full-scale building of permanent dwellings, both detached houses and condominiums, for survivors who lost their homes in the disaster.

Many survivors, however, are still in limbo as municipalities face delays in providing permanent housing units.

Iwate Prefecture had constructed 1,049 publicly funded replacement homes for survivors as of January — just 18 percent of the 5,933 units planned to be built by September 2018. The deadline was initially March 2018.

Miyagi is also experiencing construction delays.

As of January, the prefecture had built 2,692 housing units, or 17.4 percent of 15,484 units planned to be completed by March 2018.

In Fukushima, only 261 units, or 5 percent of the 4,890 units planned by March 2018, were available for nuclear disaster evacuees as of January. Also, just 1,190 replacement houses, or 44 percent of the 2,702 units planned, were constructed for tsunami and earthquake survivors in the prefecture.

The delay is due to the rising cost of labor and construction materials, Iwate Gov. Takuya Tasso said.

Meanwhile a vast number of people continue to live in temporary housing units.

In Iwate, 22,300 people were still in prefab temporary housing as of January, down a mere 13 percent from 25,619 last March.

Miyagi in January still had 35,332 people living in temporary shelters, down 16 percent from the 42,310 listed 10 months earlier.

The situation in Fukushima also remains problematic, with 24,098 people still living in temporary housing in January, even though 15 percent of 28,367 had moved away from such units as of last March.

The number of temporary shelter dwellers is surprisingly high, considering that all displaced survivors of the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake had moved out of similar housing five years after that disaster. The Hanshin temblor caused greater structural damage than the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, but there were no huge tsunami.

Industries in the Tohoku region are also suffering from slumping sales and manpower shortages.

Seafood production in Tohoku remains low. According to a survey by the Fisheries Agency between November and January, just 53 percent of facilities in Iwate Prefecture were operating at 80 percent or above of their pre-disaster levels. In Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, the number is even lower, at 50 percent and 25 percent, respectively.

Worse, the percentage of facilities at or above the 80-percent production threshold hasn’t changed much since last year’s survey, which recorded 57 percent in Iwate, 49 percent in Miyagi and 24 percent in Fukushima.

A recovery in seafood sales has also foundered, with this year’s survey showing just 58 percent of firms in Iwate reaching 80 percent or above pre-disaster levels. The figure is 40 percent in Miyagi and a mere 21 percent in Fukushima.

Iwate Gov. Tasso said the slumping sales in Tohoku fisheries is due to delays in the recovery of factories to process fish products, and radiation fears stemming from the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Despite abundant job opportunities, the three hardest-hit prefectures are suffering a labor crunch.

Local industries, especially fish processing, construction and nursing care, are suffering from the shortage of human resources. Specialists who can take the lead in constructing infrastructure for community development are also in short supply, Tasso said.

Some Rikuzentakata residents don’t hide their anxiety about life after reconstruction.

Taxi driver Haruyuki Sato doubts people want to return to live in areas where they lost their homes to the tsunami.

“I can’t foresee how the city will turn out (after all the reconstruction ends),” he said.

Some citizens oppose the city’s planned seawalls, which will mar the traditional coastal scenery and the planned 70,000-tree pine forest to be planted on land between the embankments.

Midori Murakami of sightseeing promoter Marugoto-Rikuzentakata said that as the construction progresses, there is an emotional gap between locals who lost loved ones in the disaster and those who didn’t.

“Some people complain about creating a (raised-ground zone) on land where about 200 missing people may be buried,” she said. “But otherwise we can’t move ahead. . . . I feel both excitement and concern while the reconstruction advances.

“But local people are looking forward. . . . Thanks to the reconstruction, I get to know many new people and we work together,” she added.

Fiscal 2015, which starts next month, will mark the fifth year of Iwate’s eight-year reconstruction plan and the second year of its three-year “full-fledged” effort to rebuild housing, lives and industries for survivors. The estimated reconstruction budget will reach ¥1.1 trillion, the highest since the disasters if not counting past debris disposal, the governor said.

“When thinking about disaster victims . . . I feel it’s a mission for us survivors to reconstruct a city filled with smiles . . . (so) that even the most depressed people come here and become encouraged by finding diverse people at work and full of pride,” said Rikuzentakata Mayor Toba, who lost his wife in the disaster.

Fiscal 2015 will also be the final year of the government’s ¥25 trillion five-year reconstruction budget, which Toba said is the biggest concern for those hoping the rebuilding work won’t grind to a halt.

The administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has not made an official plan on whether or how to distribute the reconstruction budget after March 2016.

Toba is worried that the apparent waning sense of crisis among the public may lead to policymakers placing less priority on reconstruction.

“If possible, I want as many people as possible to visit the reconstruction sites — not necessarily Rikuzentakata — while the damage from the great earthquake still remains. Then, I want them to revisit after five, 10 years (to see the dramatic changes after the reconstruction),” he said.

“All bereaved families have something unforgettable inside them . . . but I think even that sorrow may turn to become an unbeatable energy (to generate positive effects).”

Ihre Freude ist unsere Freude

Konzert „Ihre Freude ist meine Freude“

Konsul Yasushi Fukagawa lud am Sonntag 15. März 2015 aus Anlass des vierten Jahrestages der gigantischen Naturkatastrophe im Nordosten Japans vom 11. März 2011 eine Vielzahl von Institutionen und Privatpersonen ein, die sich auf verschiedenste Art und Weise für die betroffenen Regionen eingesetzt hatten und mit großem Engagement japanische Landsleute in der schweren Zeit unterstützten.

Ein Bericht über die Veranstaltung mit einer Kurzfassung des Berichtes von

Frau Gesa Neuert zu Spendenprojekten in Tohoku finden Sie hier:

Ihre Freude ist unsere Freude

Untitled 26

Untitled 13Untitled 12

No Nuclear Fuel Left, Fukushima Daiichi Reactor Unit 1. Revealed by the remote sensing using a cosmic ray.


Lalaland March 19th, 2015


”No Nuclear Fuel Left, Fukushima Daiichi Reactor Unit 1.
Revealed by the remote sensing using a cosmic ray. ”


Let’s pretend this is fresh news and that no one would have thought that the core reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi Unit 1 had officially and entirely gone AWOL  *”absent without official leave” as I like to imply for this missing Corium

Actually, it took 4 years for authorities to relay such information to the public (us). It went from;  “no meltdown”, to “partially melt down”, to “melt down” and finally “completely melt down”.

Did they just say “complete melt down” ?






unit 1 empty

Back in January 2015, TEPCO was introducing the use of the “muon” detectors for the imaging of cosmic rays coming from outer space as they pass matter like the concrete and steel of Fukushima and absorbed in high-density molecular materials like uranium in an effort to locate the destroyed radioactive reactor cores.  Muon imaging for Units 2 and 3 is still underway.

The x-ray like imagery indicates that the center portion of the bottom of the reactor pressure vessel appears to be missing and that the melted reactor core material has exited and relocated outside of the reactor vessel.

The exact location of the destroyed reactor cores for Fukushima Daiichi Unit 1, Unit 2 and 3 remain unknown.  TEPCO is attempting to probe beneath the wreckage for missing reactor core material with advanced robotics.



It is more than likely, authorities at hand will have to re evaluate “one more time” the inventory of isotopes that spewed out of Daiichi (keep on spewing) since 311. We all know that Dr Yamashita and the rest of the clowns at the FMU had it wrong a few times and it is unlikely they will get it right anytime soon.


So while PM Shinzo Abe and the rest of the Nuclear Mafia keeps on telling the entire world that Fukushima is safe, I can’t stop shaking my head in disbelief, knowing that thousands of innocent souls are being rushed back to contaminated areas … not so far from 3 MISSING totally melted down reactor cores. Consequently this will also call for re assessing inventories of isotopes from Unit 2 and 3 as well.


高エネルギー加速器研究機構などのグループは、先月から、さまざまな物質を通り抜ける性質がある「ミューオン」と呼ばれる素粒子をとらえる特殊な装置でレ ントゲン写真のように原子炉建屋を透視し、核燃料のありかを突き止めようという調査を進めてきました。その結果、1号機では、使用済み燃料プールにある核 燃料は確認できましたが、原子炉の中には核燃料が見あたらないことがわかりました。









Jan. 30, 2015

New Findings on Fallout

Nearly 4 years have passed since the nuclear accident at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi plant. But even as work proceeds on decommissioning the reactors, experts are still trying to grasp all the details of the disaster. They have made new discoveries about the radioactive substances released from the reactors. In this installment of Nuclear Watch, we tell you what they’ve found.

On March 13th, 2011, a US aircraft carrier deployed off northeastern Japan detected an increase in the level of radiation in the atmosphere. The crew kept a running record of the data.

NHK created this chart with help from a researcher who’s been analyzing the information.

Up until now, people looking into the accident had focused on the 4 days immediately after the disaster. That’s because they thought the bulk of radioactive substances was released from the plant during that period.

However, the data analyzed by the researchers suggest something different. Only a quarter of the radioactive substances drifted away from the plant during the first 4 days. The remaining 75 percent spread over the next 2 weeks.

An analysis reveals why this happened. When the disaster hit, the nuclear plant lost its external power. That made electric pumps that inject water into the reactors useless.

So workers used fire engines to spray water into the reactors in an effort to keep them from melting down.

The fire engines pumped out 30,000 liters of water every hour. But an in-house investigation by the plant’s operator shows only about 1,000 liters per hour reached the targets.

We conducted an experiment to see if this may have contributed to the massive release of radioactive fallout.

Nuclear fuel is covered with a metal called zirconium. We heated the metal to a temperature of 1,200 degrees Celsius, the estimated temperature inside the reactors when the accident happened. We then poured traces of vapor onto the metal to simulate water from the fire engines.

Instead of dropping, the temperature of the metal quickly began to climb. In 2 minutes, it surged by 78 degrees. Experts suspect this is why large amounts of radioactive substances escaped over an extended time.

NHK asked experts to gather for analysis.

„Fuel keeps melting slowly, as zirconium generates a relatively large amount of heat,“ explains Masanori Naitoh, Director of the Institute of Applied Energy. „The metal remained hot for some time. This means radioactive materials will be released for a longer time.“

The experiment showed that water that was meant to prevent the meltdowns may have actually sustained them. Naitoh says the result shows that radioactive substances kept leaking out and spreading into the atmosphere.

NHK WORLD’s Kenichiro Okamoto has been following the story, and tells us what he’s learned.

Why wasn’t the fallout discovered until now?

Several independent panels investigated the accident. Some were appointed by the government… others by the Diet, or private groups.

The members tried to figure out why no one was able to control the situation. They focused on the 4 to 5 days after the disaster, when TEPCO failed to prevent the reactors from melting down.

Are the investigations ongoing?

Radiation levels around the Fukushima Daiichi reactors remain extremely high.

And no one has been able to get close enough to determine what’s happening inside. And it’s possible there may still be more data to analyze about radioactive substances released from the plant.

This explains why experts believe it will take several decades to get a complete picture of what happened. In the meantime, everyone needs to keep in mind that no nuclear plant is perfectly safe.

And members of the media need to keep watching the situation, and report on future developments as they happen.


Japanese Coastal Town Still Struggling to Rebuild From 2011 Tsunami – Otsuchi

Many of the survivors of the tsunami that devastated Otsuchi, Japan, four years ago live in temporary housing like these prefabricated units on school property. Ko Sasaki for The New York Times

OTSUCHI, Japan — The spot where the town’s center once stood is now a dusty construction site filled with diggers and dump trucks toiling amid huge, man-made mesas of earth and gravel. The work is part of an $850 million project to elevate the land by seven feet and shield it behind a towering 48-foot wall.

Four years after a colossal tsunami swept away most of this remote fishing community on Japan’s mountainous northeastern coast, Otsuchi is starting to rebuild.

However, the wait is far from over for thousands of the town’s survivors, many of them still living in temporary apartments after being left homeless by the waves. Otsuchi was so severely crippled by the calamity — 1,284 people died here, including the mayor and many town hall employees, firefighters and police officers — that the town struggled for years even to put together a recovery plan. Reconstruction began only last year and will not be finished until at least 2019, the new mayor says.

Similar stories could be heard across Japan’s tsunami-struck northeast as the nation held prayer ceremonies this week to observe the anniversary of the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and resulting tsunami on March 11, 2011, that left 18,490 people dead or missing. Almost 250,000 people lost their homes in the calamity, and 87,000 still live in cramped, prefabricated housing that was originally meant to last for just two or three years.

Hiromi Kawaguchi, in his two-room apartment in emergency housing, lost his mother, wife and 4-year-old grandson. “We are still very much a disaster zone,” he said.CreditKo Sasaki for The New York Times

It is not clear when, if ever, they will move back. In Fukushima, where the tsunami caused meltdowns that destroyed the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, some areas were so contaminated with radiation that they may not be habitable for decades.

In small coastal communities farther north like Otsuchi, far enough away to escape most of the nuclear fallout, many survivors have simply given up and moved elsewhere, accelerating the depopulation of rural areas in this rapidly graying nation. Those who want to stay worry they could face additional waits as memories of the tragedy fade in the rest of Japan, where attention is now turning to events like the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

“Everyone seems to think that life has gone back to normal here, but we are still very much a disaster zone,” said Hiromi Kawaguchi, 66, a retired town employee who lives alone in a tiny two-room apartment in refugee housing after losing his wife, mother and 4-year-old grandson, Shoya, to the tsunami.

“Does this mean more delays if the nation has lost its sense of urgency about us?” he said. “Even big construction companies are starting to leave to get a piece of the Olympics.”

To help in the rebuilding, the central government in Tokyo pledged 25 trillion yen, or about $206 billion, to pay for reconstruction and radiation cleanup as part of a “concentrated recovery program” that was supposed to end in 2016. However, local governments have been so overwhelmed by the task of rebuilding that many have fallen behind schedule and proved unable to even spend all the recovery money made available to them.

Otsuchi is a case in point. Once a quiet community of 15,200 residents on a picturesque bay between rugged mountains and the Pacific Ocean, Otsuchi was struck by seething 50-foot waves that destroyed more than 80 percent of the town’s structures, including the town hall, fire department, police station and main hospital. The tsunami killed the mayor and almost 50 town employees, leaving Otsuchi leaderless in the months after the disaster.

“The town was paralyzed by the chaos,” Otsuchi’s new mayor, Yutaka Ikarigawa, said in an interview in the temporary town hall, which occupies a former elementary school that was damaged in the disaster.

Survivors said it took a year to erect temporary housing and supply all the units with electricity and water; the cleanup of a half-million tons of crumpled cars, shattered wooden beams and other debris was completed only last year.

Survivors also struggled to reach a consensus on what they wanted their reconstructed town to look like. Some favored the huge, expensive wave walls that officials in Tokyo urged them to build. Others pointed out that such walls had failed to save residents in other towns. They argued that the safest thing to do would be completely rebuild the town on higher ground.

In the end, the town settled on a compromise in which commercial structures like factories and stores would be rebuilt on the site of the old town center, which would be elevated and protected behind a wall as wide as half a football field at its base. Most residents will move to new housing at higher elevations, including on flattened hilltops.

Today, the neighborhoods that had been left in ruins are being covered by thick layers of fresh soil. The three-story concrete town hall, its insides gutted by the tsunami that almost completely submerged it, is the only building left standing in the town center. Buddhist statues have been placed in front, turning it into a memorial for those who perished inside.

11042674_390780241100923_6507396406204601769_n10835327_931128936920000_5601280162802526729_o 10830474_905080749524819_5471514793678430661_o 10978607_769814343111265_3170556911701049306_n 10930999_782863438435638_1676503939248368497_o

But the start of construction has brought new delays. Otsuchi has struggled to find construction companies to even bid on its contracts, as a boom in post-tsunami rebuilding has created a shortage of contractors. That shortage has been made worse by Olympic-related construction projects in Tokyo, said the mayor, Mr. Ikarigawa.

As a result, Otsuchi has been unable to spend all the money allocated to its recovery by the central government. In 2012, Otsuchi was able to spend just 28 percent of the $178 million made available to it. Last year, with a new reconstruction plan finally in hand, it did better, spending 62 percent, Mr. Ikarigawa said.

“It doesn’t make sense to have to return unused recovery funds when so much of the town still needs rebuilding,” said Keiichi Sasaki, 53, the head of a neighborhood committee in Otsuchi whose home was washed away by the tsunami.

Until their homes can be rebuilt, about 3,700 residents live in temporary housing, waiting. Thousands of others have already given up: The town hall estimates that Otsuchi has lost at least a quarter of its population to the disaster and the exodus that followed.

Mr. Kawaguchi, the retired town employee, said the number who left may be even higher. He said many lost hope after the construction boom started to drive up the cost of labor and building materials, making it more than twice as expensive to rebuild now as just two years ago.

Nor has the central government provided much relief: It offers subsidies of $40,000 to $60,000 to help rebuild homes that now cost $300,000 to $450,000 to rebuild.

“The country has no problem putting huge sums into big public works projects like wave walls, but it won’t help average people,” Mr. Kawaguchi said. “The longer it takes to recover, the more our town will wither away.”

Prof. Imamura rät, Überschwemmungsgebiete für Tsunami einzuplanen -防潮堤計画へ新たな疑問浮上「東北大の苦言」










Fixes for temporary housing expected to cost ¥78 billion

Fixes for temporary housing expected to cost ¥78 billion

The Yomiuri Shimbun

The Yomiuri ShimbunThe total accumulated cost of repairing and refurbishing temporary houses for disaster victims will likely reach ¥78.03 billion through the end of this fiscal year, according to the governments of the seven prefectures where they were built after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.

Prefabricated temporary housing units originally designed to last for up to two years have now been used for more than three years. Numerous problems have emerged as a result, including leaking roofs.

An expert panel from the Cabinet Office will begin reexamining the period of use and other aspects of the temporary houses to prepare for future disasters, including a huge earthquake predicted along the Nankai Trough off the Pacific Ocean.

After the Great East Japan Earthquake, local governments in the prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi and Chiba built the temporary houses based on the Disaster Relief Law. Temporary houses were also built in Nagano Prefecture for victims of another quake in the northern part of the prefecture, which occurred just after the Great East Japan Earthquake.

A total of 53,194 temporary housing units were built in the seven prefectures at initial construction costs totaling about ¥290 billion. The units in Chiba, Tochigi and Nagano prefectures were dismantled as of the end of May this year. Currently, 93,017 people live in 42,590 temporary housing units in the remaining four prefectures.

The law stipulates that temporary houses will be usable for two years and have a per-unit acreage of about 30 square meters. The assumed construction cost per unit was about ¥2.39 million at the time of the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Many of the temporary houses have similar structures to the prefabricated offices at construction sites. They are zinc-roofed and their walls are thin.

Measures to cope with cold weather were especially insufficient. After construction was completed, additional work was done at the request of residents to reinforce heat insulating materials in the walls and double-layer windows.

Total costs from fiscal 2011 to 2013 in the seven prefectures stood at about ¥73.18 billion. In Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, the initial construction costs and the additional work as of January 2013 reached a combined average of ¥6.79 million per unit.

Temporary housing residents are expected to relocate to publicly run housing units for disaster victims. But only 8 percent of the necessary units have been completed, meaning the temporary houses will be used for the foreseeable future. This could present a problem, since some temporary housing units have started to tilt because of weak soil, and residents are increasingly complaining of such problems as leaking roofs and mold.

The prefectural governments of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima allocated a total of about ¥4.86 billion for repairs and other additional work in their fiscal budgets this year, and extended the period people can live in temporary housing to five years. These measures mean necessary repair costs will likely continue increasing.

To extend the durability of the temporary houses, their foundations must be rebuilt using ferro-concrete. But this alone will cost ¥300,000 to ¥400,000 per unit.

If a Nankai Trough quake occurs, about 400,000 temporary housing units will be necessary in the eight prefectures that presented forecast figures, according a The Yomiuri Shimbun survey in December last year.

Consequently, the Cabinet Office panel, which handles how the central government should assist disaster victims, is set to submit proposals about temporary housing for disaster victims.

Einladung zur Teilnahme: Symposium „Sanriku Fukkou“ am 5. 9. in Yoyogi, NYC und am 6.9. im Goethe Institut in Akasaka



Flyer Goethe



Please share! ‚Sanriku Reconstruction Symposium‘ held at the National Institution for Youth Education National Olympics Memorial Youth Center on 5 Sep 2014 and at The Goethe Institution in Akasaka on 6 Sep 2014 in Tokyo.

Hiroko Otsuka will talk about: ‚Live Together With The Sea – The Seawalls, Education and Intercultural Communication‘ – The role of education and ‚intercultural‘ communication in post-disaster Kesennuma, my hometown, from the view point of a teacher, a mother and an ordinary global citizen whose survived family and townspeople are being challenged by the issues of giant concrete seawalls, disaster risk and reconstruction of sustainable future.

Please come and give us your opinion, especially if you are interested in giving voices to those who often do not have, like women, children and victims of disasters?


Im Rahmen der 2. Deutsch-Japanischen Summer School DJSF Sanriku Fukkou findet am 5. 9. in Yoyogi, NYC, und am 6.9. im Goethe Institut in Akasaka das 2. Symposium zum Wiederaufbau an der Sanriku‬ Küste statt. Wie sieht es dreieinhalb Jahre nach der‪ großen Tsunami Katastrophe‬ aus? Am 5. September ist u.a. an Beispielen aus Kesennuma: Shibitachi und Koizumi‬ Bucht, der Schwerpunkt auf resiliente Planungen mit Perspektiven auf einen Wiederaufbau und ein Leben im Einklang mit der Natur gelegt. Wichtig ist, wieder Kraft und Identität zu erlangen. Hier spielen überlieferte Traditionen, Shintoriten, Matsuri, Tänze, Volkskunde und überlieferte Kenntnisse vom Leben mit Wald, Meer und Küste in Einklang mit der Natur.

Gerade die Koizumi Bucht ist international in den Medien bekannt geworden, da hier eine 90 m breite und 14,7 m hohe Betonmauer errichtet werden soll, die den nach dem Tsunami übrig gebliebenen gesamten Sandstrand bedecken wird.

Am 6.9. beschäftigen wir uns mit der aktuellen Politik in Japan, das Verhältnis zu China und Deutschland, und ob es ein Umdenken in der japanischen Gesellschaft in Bezug auf zukünftige Energiepolitik gegeben hat, sowie den Strukturen in Politik und Bauindustrie.

Bitte besuchen Sie das Symposium in Yoyogi, NYC und im Goethe Institut, Akasaka


National Institution for Youth Education National Olympics Memorial Youth Center (NYC)
3-1. Yoyogi Kamizono-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 151-0052 JAPAN
TEL.+81-3-3467-7201(General number)

Goethe Institut, Tokyo

Adresse: 7 Chome-5-56 Akasaka, Minato, Tokyo, Japan

Telefon:+81 3-3584-3201

Japan rebuilds tsunami torn towns – Minamisanriku

four_col_the_mayorJapan rebuilds tsunami torn towns
Cushla Norman

Three years after a massive quake struck off the coast of Japan, the rubble has been cleared and the infrastructure largely restored, but the rebuild has been slow.
A shrine has been set up at the disaster prevention tower for people to pay their respects. However the council plans to demolish the building.

The sea is both friend and foe to the town of Minamisanriku. Fishing is the foundation of the economy and the town is famed for its octopus, oysters and scallops.However, as Insight found out when it visited, because of its hilly topography and v-shaped bays, Minamisanriku is prone to tsunamis.

It has had three major ones since 1896, and the town was prepared for more. A 4.6 metre seawall and 10 metre high tidal gates were built after the 1960 tsunami which followed the Valdivia earthquake in Chile. But this wasn’t enough to protect the town in 2011.

The disaster prevention tower, where the final tsunami warnings were broadcast from. 43 people on the rooftop were washed away and nine survived.


On 11 March 2011 a tsunami generated by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake damaged and destroyed towns and cities along 600 kms of the Tohoku coast – 18,958 people were killed and 127,291 buildings were destroyed.
The tsunami virtually wiped out Minamisanriku’s town centre, and left about 800 people dead or missing. The town is now a bare plain of brown dirt dotted with the odd mangled building.
But progress is being made. A convoy of trucks ferries tonnes of dirt from the surrounding hills to the coastal plain every day. The dirt is being used to raise the land by 10.6 metres.
Houses won’t be allowed to be built on the newly raised land – it will be for shops, offices and processing factories – houses will be built on the surrounding hills.
Across the Tohoku region, 258,000 people are still homeless three years on from the disaster. In Minamisanriku, more than 5,000 people still live in temporary housing. Many of them didn’t have costly earthquake insurance.
And so the government is building about 21,000 public housing apartments in the region to be rented to residents according to their income.
The government’s reconstruction agency said work has already started on about 70 percent of public housing with the goal to have 80 percent completed by March 2016.
For those who don’t want to live in public housing, the government is developing land for them to build on, with residents paying the expensive construction costs themselves.
Mayor of Minamisanriku Jin Sato said the cost of building materials has risen dramatically since the tsunami. The mayor, Jin Sato, survived the tsunami by clinging to a radio antennae on top of the disasterprevention building.
He said before the disaster a 30 square metre house would have cost $140,000 to build, but now it costs $475,000. He said people look at this cost and just give up on building their own home and that’s a worry for him.
Also a worry for the mayor is increased competition from Tokyo for construction companies to work on Olympics projects. He said some construction companies have left since Tokyo was named as 2020 hosts last year and he fears it may slow the rebuild.
Mr Sato said the construction companies always used to say „the disaster area is our priority“, but now their stance has changed to „the Olympics and the disaster area are our priorities.“
These signs mark the tsunami inundation zone. In most places the waves were at least 10 metres but in some they were 16 metres high.
Before the disaster Minamisanriku’s population was 17,666. Now it has fallen to about 14,000 – although locals fear it could be lower.
Many people, predominantly the young, have left because of what they see as a lack of job opportunities and a lack of progress on the rebuild.
But Mr Sato insists there are jobs, and government statistics back him up. In the Tohoku region there are actually more job offers than people.
However, as an aid worker from the nearby city of Ishinomaki, Akiko Iwamoto, points out, the jobs are in industries such as construction which may not appeal to young people.
Ishinomaki, a city of about 150,000 people just south of Minamisanriku, is facing the same problems as the rest of the Tohoku region – an ageing population, a mass exodus of young people and labour shortages.
Out of the disaster hit regions Ishinomaki has the highest number living in temporary housing – 15,000. Akiko Iwamoto said many of them lead a grim existence with a lot becoming reclusive, staying inside, watching TV and drinking.
She said suicide and divorce rates have jumped dramatically as so much uncertainty hangs over people’s lives.
The Japanese government is spending $350 billion on the Tohoku rebuild over 10 years. Its original goal was to have the rebuild finished in a decade. Mr Sato thought this would be possible at first, but now he can’t believe there are just six years left.
The earthquake caused the land to drop by about 70cm and as a result this low lying area, which was formerly the downtown, floods easily during high tide.
The earthquake caused the land to drop by about 70cm and as a result this low lying area, which was formerly the downtown, floods easily during high tide.


POINT OF VIEW: Don’t let disaster-stricken Tohoku region remain as Tokyo’s ‘colony’

By YUZURU TSUBOI/ Staff Writer

March 11 marked the third anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami disaster that triggered Japan’s worst nuclear accident.

One question sums up the frustration felt by residents of the stricken Tohoku region of northeastern Japan: “Does the Tohoku region still remain a colony?”

The question was in an essay written by Norio Akasaka, director of the prefectural Fukushima Museum and folklorist, and carried by The Asahi Shimbun on Jan. 29. Akasaka was a member of the Reconstruction Design Council, an advisory panel established by the central government.

In his essay, Akasaka posed critical questions.

He asked why Fukushima Prefecture was obsessively devoted to providing electricity, generated by two nuclear power plants, to Tokyo as if it were a vassal state paying tribute to the capital.

Akasaka also asked why the intentions of local people were ignored in the name of reconstruction that focused on large-scale public works projects.

After raising these questions, he went on to point out that the 2011 triple disaster exposed a bleak reality that the Tohoku region has faced for far too long.

His view is not so far from the truth in three respects.

One is that localities stricken by the nuclear accident have been effectively abandoned.

Even today, newspapers dated March 12, 2011, remain piled up at a distribution store in Namie, a town close to the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Residents separated from their families and communities by radioactive fallout cannot even get close to the point where they can contemplate restructuring their lives.

Secondly, there has been little progress in what is termed as “creative rebuilding,” a vision that was drawn up for the depopulated region which serves as an epitome of any rural area in the future.

The rebuilding projects, which were cobbled together with little coordination among central government ministries, do not offer a new platform that will allow residents to rebuild their communities based on a plan that factors in continued population decline.

The projects do not make it any easier to take on a new model for fishing and agricultural operations, either.

On top of this, preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are accelerating the drain of manpower and materials, which are essential to the rebuilding process.

Thirdly, searing memories of the devastation are fading with the passage of time. The fact that about 100,000 people are still forced to live in prefabricated temporary housing does not make headlines any more.

Last month, an article in The Asahi Shimbun noted that local government chiefs felt a huge gulf between the affected region and Tokyo after seeing a poster celebrating Tokyo’s hosting of the Summer Olympics. It was displayed in the Reconstruction Agency, which they were visiting to lobby for rebuilding. I find the episode a painful reminder of the perception gap.

Admittedly, smiles are returning to the faces of many people in the stricken region.

That said, the Tohoku region still seems to be regarded as a convenient “colony” of Tokyo, the nation’s center of affluence.

This is a reality of Japan that has not changed even after the unprecedented adversity.

I propose that everybody contemplate this third anniversary by asking some key questions.

What kind of a community are we aiming to build? Rebuilding efforts are still in the first chapter and a review of the plans is possible. We should also ask whether investments from government coffers are being spent for a meaningful purpose and are sustainable.

A picture of the stricken region five years from now or 10 years from now must be nothing but a reflection of our own in the future.




According to the National Police Agency, 15,884 people died and the whereabouts of 2,633 others remained unknown as of March 10 due to the Great East Japan Earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident.

In addition, 2,973 people died of causes related to the disaster, such as deteriorating health resulting from the evacuation and suicide, in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima, the three worst-affected prefectures in the Tohoku region.

In Fukushima Prefecture, the number of deaths resulting from evacuation after the nuclear accident exceeded that of the earthquake and tsunami.

About 267,000 people nationwide are still displaced due to the 2011 disaster.

About 104,000 households live in temporary housing.

The occupancy rate of prefabricated temporary housing is about 84 percent in the three prefectures.

The figure compared with less than 60 percent reported three years after the Great Hanshin Earthquake of Jan. 17, 1995, which claimed more than 6,400 lives in the Kansai region.

According to the Reconstruction Agency, 2,347 units of public housing for victims will be completed in the three prefectures by the end of this month. But the figure is only 9 percent of a total planned.

The circumstances surrounding schools, a key part of efforts to rebuild communities, are bleak.

Many children are continuing their education in makeshift schools or “renting” rooms in other schools.

The affected localities are faced with an array of challenges. These include a population drain, scant progress in rebuilding and a need to provide mental health care services.



Yuzuru Tsuboi is chief of The Asahi Shimbun’s Sendai Bureau and head of its team covering the recovery of the Tohoku region.

By YUZURU TSUBOI/ Staff Writer

Betonwälle – 14,5 m hoch – geplant als Küstenschutz


Betonwälle - 14,5 m hoch - geplant als Küstenschutz

Planungen zum Küstenschutz in Kesennuma, Rikuzentakata, Otuchi und Taro:

‪#‎Japan‬ – ‪#‎Erkundung‬ von ‪#‎Tokyo‬ und ‪#‎Tohoku‬:
Während der 2. ‪#‎Deutschjapanischen‬ ‪#‎Summerschool‬ ‪#‎Sanrikufukkou‬ werden wir vom 7.9. bis zum 15.9. die Städte ‪#‎Kesennuma‬, ‪#‎Rikuzentakata‬, ‪#‎Otsuchi‬ und ‪#‎Taro‬ besuchen und mit Wissenschaftlern, Politikern, Behörden und Betroffenen über die Pläne und Umsetzungen der geplanten ‪#‎Betonwälle‬ – teilweise bis 14,7 m hoch sprechen. An einigen Orten waren die Proteste gegen diese Planungen so erfolgreich, dass nun neu geplant werden kann. In Rikuzentakta und Taro werden bereits Berge abgetragen, zum einen um dort Baugelände zu gewinnen und neue Wohnanlagen zu bauen, zum anderen, um das Bodenniveau an der Küste anzuheben.