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.

岩手

<災害公営住宅>コミュニティーづくり模索

2016年08月01日 月曜日
岩手県内最大の災害公営住宅「県営栃ケ沢アパート」

 岩手県陸前高田市で1日、県内最大の災害公営住宅「県営栃ケ沢アパート」の入居が始まる。9階建てと8階建ての2棟で、市全体の3割以上を占める計301戸を整備した。だが、持ち家が中心の市民に高層集合住宅はなじみが薄く、新たなコミュニティーづくりや防災対策が課題となっている。
アパートは高台の市役所仮庁舎近くに立地する。県大船渡土木センターによると、現段階の入居見込みは206世帯。このうち、1人暮らしの高齢者は24.8%に及ぶ。加えて入居者は市内各地から集まるとみられる。
高齢者らの相談に応じる陸前高田市地域包括支援センターの担当者は「都市型の住まいに慣れていたはずの神戸市でも、阪神大震災後に孤独死が出た。嫌になってストレスをためたり引きこもったりしないか」と心配する。
県営のため、住民サービスを担う市に入居者の詳しい情報が入らず、ケアの支障になりかねない。
県は市などと協議し、同意を得た入居世帯全員の氏名と性別、年齢の個人情報を、市や市社協、民生委員に提供することを決めた。
管理人や行政区長、班長の選任、自治会設立、入居者間交流といった課題にも連携して対応する。県大船渡地域振興センター復興推進課の米内敏明課長は「規模が大きく、コミュニティーづくりに危機感を持っている。住民の合意形成を大切に進めたい」と話す。
防災面でも懸念材料がある。東日本大震災前に中高層建物が少なかった市には消防のはしご車がない。栃ケ沢アパートをはじめ、7階以上の災害公営住宅が相次いで建ち、高さ15メートル以上の建物は9棟に増えた。
はしご車の整備については消防庁の指針でおおむね10棟を目安としているが、維持管理を含めた財源や職員態勢の問題もある。
市消防本部によると、災害公営住宅の部屋壁は鉄筋で隣室の延焼を防げるといい、玄関側とベランダ側からそれぞれ水平方向に避難しやすい構造になっている。同本部の担当者は「はしご車がなくても消防隊が支障なく上階に向かえる」と説明。今後は防火講習会を開き、入居者の不安解消に努める。

http://sp.kahoku.co.jp/tohokunews/201608/20160801_33005.html

Otsuchi, Return of a Perilous Beauty

 No1-2016-03Otsuchi

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.

No1-2016-03Pommag
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.

http://www.fccj.or.jp/number-1-shimbun/item/757-return-of-a-perilous-beauty.html

検証変貌するまち>読めぬ集客 出店迷う

左手の山裾に建つ災害公営住宅前のかさ上げ地が新たな市街地になる=2月10日、陸前高田市

◎(上)未来図への不安

東日本大震災の津波で壊滅した陸前高田市中心部の高田地区に、海抜12メートルにかさ上げされた約100ヘクタールの大地が誕生する。
ことし市街地区域で商業施設の集積が始まるが、住宅の整備はまだ数年かかる。新しい街にどれだけの住民が戻るのか。予測ははっきりせず、商業者は出店すべきか悩む。
先行する26ヘクタールの新市街地で今夏、大型商業施設が着工する。周辺に商店街、さらに周縁には住宅地。公共施設やJR大船渡線バス高速輸送システム(BRT)の陸前高田駅を設ける。市が描く未来図だ。

<投資見合わず>
市が貸す商店街用地の地代は被災事業者なら1平方メートル当たり年311~340円と格安だ。仮設店舗の集積を狙うが、1月末に締め切った借地申請は29事業所にとどまった。
地元商工会が2014年に実施した調査で、中心市街地での再開希望は118事業者に上っていた。市商工観光課は「スタート時としては想定内の数字」と受け止めるが、先行きは見えない。
仮設商店街でカフェを営む太田明成さん(49)は大型店へのテナント入居を考えた。だが家賃と共益費が震災前の倍となる月20万円と分かり、諦めた。
新店舗建設の見積もりでは自己負担が1500万円を超えた。「月の売り上げを30万円増やさないといけないが、投資に見合うだけの集客があるのか。借金を返すための出店にならないか」。自問を繰り返す。
仮設を限りに廃業を決めた人もいる。布団店経営の菅野幾夫さん(66)は「年も年だし、後継者もいない。潮時だ」と創業140年の老舗を畳むつもりだ。
高田地区の土地区画整理事業の計画戸数は震災前と同規模の1560。対照的に市が15年6月、仮設住民を対象にした住宅再建意向調査で、地区内の高台やかさ上げ地を希望したのは230世帯(15年9月集計)にとどまる。しかも家を建てられるのは17年度以降だ。
既に地区内の災害公営住宅に住む人は調査対象に入っていない。実際の居住世帯はこれより増えるとみられるが、市も実数をつかみきれていない。

<生活の場分散>
数年間は近隣住民がほとんどいない。地域経済を支える復興作業員は減っていく。病院や学校は高台に移り、生活の場が分散する。市街地には買い物や飲食の機能しかない。そんな街の姿が出店意欲を鈍らせる。
「またシャッター街をつくるのか、と言う人もいる。でも、誰かに設けてもらった街で愚痴を言いながら商売したいか。考えに考え、自分たちの手で魅力ある街を実現しよう」
地元商工会の中心市街地企画委員長の磐井正篤さん(59)は勉強会の度にげきを飛ばす。商店街に和雑貨店を出すが、もちろん不安だ。
「人工的に街を築く壮大な実験。でも、身の丈より少し背伸びした街にしたい」。今は笑って前へ歩くしかないと覚悟を呼び掛ける。(太楽裕克)

津波被害を防ぐため、まちが変わる。巨大事業が進む中、被災者は暮らしや日々の営みで厳しい選択を迫られた。復興まちづくりで生じた課題を追う。
2面に関連記事、

http://www.kahoku.co.jp/tohokunews/201603/20160306_33006.html

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.

【東北の子ども達へ、あなたができること】
津波で家を流され、学ぶ場を失った子ども達が、被災地には残されています。
東北の子ども達のために、一人ひとりができること、考えてみませんか?

被災地負担、反対相次ぐ 復興相、首長らと会談 復興予算

2015年4月12日05時00分

 東日本大震災復興予算をめぐり、竹下亘復興相は11日、被災した岩手県市町村長らと会談した。2016年度以降は被災地側の一部負担を検討する考えを伝えたが、自治体側からは反対意見が相次いだ。復興相は近く宮城、福島両県も訪れるが、復興予算の枠組みが固まる6月までせめぎ合いが続きそうだ。

岩手県釜石市ログイン前の続きで開かれた会合には、竹下復興相や小泉進次郎復興政務官らが出席し、被災地からは野田武則・釜石市長ら13市町村の首長らが参加した。

冒頭、竹下復興相は「復興の基幹事業は引き続き国費で対応していく」とあいさつ。その後、約2時間の会談は非公開だった。終了後、野田市長は「(国から)一部地方負担を検討しなければならないという発言もあった」と明らかにした。復興予算を国が全額負担する集中復興期間を今年度で終え、16年度以降は復興予算の枠組みを見直す考えを示されたという。

岩手県幹部によると、竹下復興相は「復興に使うお金は、国民からいただいた税金ということをおさえていただかなければ」と語ったという。

被災地側は、復興予算の地元負担に反対する姿勢を示した。大槌町の大水敏弘副町長は「市町村ごとに被害と復興の度合いが違う。資材や作業員の確保が難しい事情もくんでほしい」と訴えたという。

町では市街地のかさ上げ工事が始まったばかり。会談後、大水副町長は「町は重傷を負ってリハビリ中の段階。人口1万人の町が政令指定市並みの額の大事業を進めており、国に支援してほしい」と述べた。

戸羽太・陸前高田市長も「財政や復興状況をみて議論してもらわないと困る」と話した。市は今年度、市街地かさ上げと高台造成工事に約300億円を充てる。震災前の予算の2・7倍の規模だ。「社会教育施設や市役所も建てないといけない」とも語った。

市町村が懸念するのは厳しい財政状況だ。財政力指数は、震災前の10年度でも大槌町が0・31、陸前高田市が0・27と、全国平均の0・53を下回っていた。

会談では被災地側で負担する具体的な内容について説明がなかったという。終了後、竹下復興相は報道陣に「地方負担について共通の認識はできた」と話した。岩手県の中村一郎復興局長は「被災自治体は、自分の財布が痛まないから何でも国にやってもらったらいいという思いでは決してない」と語った。

(竹山栄太郎、斎藤徹、田渕紫織)

http://digital.asahi.com/articles/DA3S11700665.html?rm=150

Fighting to recover from the ocean’s wrath

BY

SPECIAL TO THE JAPAN TIMES

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.”

Buchbesprechung „Rikuzentakata 2011-2014“ Naoya Hatakeyama

(書評)『陸前高田 2011―2014』 畠山直哉〈著〉

2015年7月5日05時00分

 ◇受容の意志の厳かさ、美しさ

「僕には、自分の記憶を助けるために写真を撮るという習慣がない」。かつて畠山直哉はこのように書いた。写真を撮ることは自分の住む世界をよりよく知ることと同義だった。だが東日本大震災で故郷の陸前高田の風景を喪失すると、この考えは変容を余儀なくされる。故郷にレンズを向け記憶との対話が始まる。

震災前後を収めた『気仙川』に続く本書では、町が再建されるさまがとらえられている。まずは瓦礫(がれき)が撤去されなくてはならない。機械による破壊とはまったく異なる姿を晒(さら)す何百台もの押しつぶされたクルマ。波が瓦礫を持ち上げ鉄骨に引っ掛けて去った後の体育館天井の凄(すさ)まじさ。白砂の浜に林立する松の木の根っこも人間の手が造り出せない猛々(たけだけ)しい形状だ。これら破壊された事物の姿を、彼は厳粛なまでに「津波」の目になって撮っていく。

後半を占めているのは町が再建される様子だ。嵩(かさ)上げされた土地、土を運ぶために巡らされたベルトコンベア、それが川をまたぐためのつり橋、防潮用の鉄板の列。これら人間の技術力を証する、目を引きつけてやまない造形美が、考え抜かれたアングルと色彩で抽出される。そして最後のページに来て気づくのだ。ここに写っている風景は町が完成した暁には消えてなくなるということに。しかもその町が再び津波に呑(の)み込まれないという保証は、どこにもないということに。

写真はどれも非常に美しく、そう感じていいのだろうかと戸惑う人もいるかもしれない。だが、本書は長大な自然史的時間と個人の時間が交差する地点に立たされた人間の報告なのだ。自然の力にもそれに負けまいとする人間の営みにも等価な視線を注いで歩こうとする者の。写真集に流れる美しさの本質は、その受容の意志の厳かさだ。批評ではなく問うことの大切さを伝える。巻末のエッセイが素晴らしい。

評・大竹昭子(作家)

河出書房新社・4212円/はたけやま・なおや 58年、岩手県陸前高田市生まれ。97年、木村伊兵衛写真賞

FOUR YEARS AFTER: Many schools still not rebuilt due to rising costs, other priorities

March 08, 2015

Students of Unosumai Elementary School in Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture, attend classes in prefabricated school buildings as reconstruction of school buildings are delayed. (Eiichiro Suganuma)

Students of Unosumai Elementary School in Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture, attend classes in prefabricated school buildings as reconstruction of school buildings are delayed. (Eiichiro Suganuma)

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the broken buildings of the Schools in Usunomai are gone, the new buildings will stand up the hill – but it will take three more years that pupils can enter it.

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

For students who entered Unosumai Elementary School in Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture, after the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, they will attend classes in prefabricated buildings for six years until graduation.

The school, located near the sea, was swallowed up by the ensuing tsunami, although all the 350 students were safely evacuated to a hillside.

Unosumai is among the many elementary and junior high schools damaged in the earthquake and tsunami that have experienced delays in rebuilding.

The large number of public works projects currently ongoing in the disaster-hit areas have resulted in a rise in the costs of construction materials and a serious shortage of workers.

Priorities have also been placed on large-scale projects, such as construction of roads ordered by the central government. Subsequently, reconstruction of school buildings has been put on the back burner.

At Unosumai Elementary, 182 students are studying in prefabricated buildings, as reconstruction of their school has yet to be started.

As prices of concrete and labor costs of workers have jumped in a short period of time, the costs of the reconstruction plan worked out in spring 2014 ballooned. As a result, the central government did not approve the plan.

In a process that took six months, the Kamaishi city government decreased the construction budget by making changes, including scaling back the school buildings. It also introduced a special bidding process that selected contractors from the design stage.

Despite those efforts, the school buildings are not expected to be completed until 2017, which means classes will continue in the prefabricated buildings.

“Though the school buildings are prefabricated ones, children are enjoying their school lives,” said Chizuko Kobayashi, 41, whose three daughters are attending Unosumai Elementary School.

The school bus that transports children from temporary housing facilities to the school passes through districts that were devastated by the tsunami. Because of that, when a tsunami warning is issued, students sometimes have to stay at the prefabricated school buildings until late at night.

“I hope that the school buildings that children can attend safely are constructed as early as possible,” Kobayashi said.

According to the Iwate prefectural government, of the 15 schools damaged by the tsunami, Funakoshi Elementary School in Yamada completed reconstruction of its school buildings in spring 2014.

The school buildings of Takata High School in Rikuzentakata are also scheduled to be completed late this month.

However, students in the remaining 13 elementary or junior high schools in five municipalities are still studying in prefabricated buildings or using buildings of former schools.

The reconstruction of Otsuchi Elementary School and Otsuchi Junior High School in Otsuchi, Takata-Higashi Junior High School in Rikuzentakata, and Okirai Elementary School in Ofunato are likely to be delayed for six months or more as municipal governments have failed to secure contractors in the bidding process.

In neighboring Miyagi Prefecture, 15 elementary and junior high schools are still using prefabricated buildings or other facilities. It is taking time for many of them and two public high schools to choose new sites for their schools or complete reconstruction of their buildings.

Completion of the new Yuriage Elementary School and Yuriage Junior High School in Natori are likely to be delayed until April 2018. A relocation site for Okawa Elementary School in Ishinomaki also has yet to be determined.

(This article was written by Eiichiro Suganuma and Masataka Yamaura.)

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

NEW FINDINGS ON FALLOUT IN FUKUSHIMA DAIICHI PLANT

NUCLEAR WATCH

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.

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/nuclearwatch/20150130.html

Interview mit dem Bürgermeister von Otsuchi: Ikarigawa-san

岩手県上閉伊郡大槌町長 碇川豊さん

地震と津波の大きな被害を受けた岩手県上閉伊郡大槌町の町長をしていらっしゃる碇川豊町長にインタビューをしてきました。町長の復興への熱い想いを語っていただきました。2015.03.09

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Interview for 3.11 vol.3岩手県上閉伊郡大槌町の現町長、碇川豊さん。2011年に東日本大震災が起こったのち、8月に大槌町長となり現在に至る。著書に『希望の大槌 逆境から発想する町』(2013年3月 明石書店)がある。

町長としての4年間

―本日はよろしくお願いします。早速ですが、まず震災当時の大槌町の状況についてお聞かせください。

東日本大震災の直後は、まさに空襲を受けた焼け野原のような景色が広がっていました。
その中で、ゼロからまちづくりをして行くというのは、想像するのも大変な状況でした。本当にこのような状況から復興できるかどうか、不安に感じていた部分も大きかったです。でも、やっていかなきゃならないことがある。絶望の淵におとされたような、再び立ち上がることさえも難しい状況でした。人口の約1割にものぼる多くの住民が亡くなり、復興の担い手である職員も大勢亡くなりました。。
いま思うとあの状況の中で町長になろうと思ったこと自体が、無謀までとはいかないけれども、大きな決断をしたなと思います。

―「町長になろうと思った」とおっしゃいましたが、あの災害から5か月後に、碇川さんは町長選挙に立候補されています。震災後、大きなプレッシャーを受けることが予想される中で、立候補を後押ししたものは何だったのでしょうか?

私は町長になるための選挙が行われるまでの数か月間、いかにして復興を遂げるか悶々として考えていました。その中で、「この復興は行政が一方的に押し付けてはだめだ」と気づきました。「住民主体のまちづくりをしていかないと、この町は無くなるぞ」という思いでした。明治29年、昭和8年、昭和35年、そして今回。明治29年、昭和8年、昭和35年、そして今回。この4回の大震災津波を踏まえて、そこに住んでいた人、またこれから住み続ける地域の人たち自身が、復興を考えることが一番重要だろうと思ったのです。
したがって私は町長に就任してすぐ、『住民主体のまちづくり条例』を議会に提案し、可決したことの趣旨通りに復興を始めました。まずは、復興協議会というものを地域ごとに計10個立ち上げて、震災後の10月に全体会を開きました。そこで「地域ごとの復興計画をできるだけ早めに作ってください」とお願いしました。
震災で前町長がなくなり、トップ不在の期間が長かった大槌はその時点で他市町村に後れを取っていました。一刻も早く復興計画が必要でありながらも、町の将来を決める、とても大きくて重要な計画、しかも行政ではなく住民達が自ら作るものですから、平時であれば、一か月やそこらでできるものではありません。
しかし、この時は、年内に復興計画を完成できるという気持ちが強くありました。それは昔から大槌の集落に根付き、住民の間で育まれてきた「結(ゆい)」の精神、つまりは助け合い団結する気持ちのこと、私はそれに賭けたのでした。
そして期待通り、12月10日頃にそれぞれの集落から復興計画があがってきたのです。そして12月26日に大槌町復興計画が議会で成立しました。
あの状況において行政が先頭に出ていくのではなく、震災前から大槌にある東京大学大気海洋研究所の先生方にお手伝いを頂きながら、住民から上がってくる復興への計画を調整してもらったことが、功を奏したのかなと思っています。

写真② (2)

―では、復興計画を策定してから4年を迎えるにあたり、町長が現在の復興状況について感じることを教えてください。

大槌町は平成23年度から30年度までの8か年の復興計画を建てています。したがって今は、折り返しの時点にきていることになります。
復興状況について感じることは、水平線をゆっくり進む船のようなものだということです。
毎日この復興状況を見ている人から見ると、なかなか進んでいることがわからない。でも目を少しそらしてからその船を見ると、動いていることがわかるように、町外から来る人にとっては復興が進んでいるのが解る。そんな感じなのかなと思います。

―町長は40年以上も大槌町職員を務め、大槌の良さや魅力を今までもたくさん見てきていると思います。その中でも特に、町長の4年間を振り返って感じること、考えることはありますか?

復興を通じ、地元を思う住民のパワーや、住民の結束力が向上したことを誇りに思います。
震災以前は町の総合計画を作るような時に、懇談会を開いても参加率は高くありませんでした。しかし、震災の影響もあって、自分たちの町をこうしたい、ああしたいという懇談を何十回もやっている中で、今まで、参加しなかったり、発言しなかったりした人も参加するようになりました。今まで、我々は外の地域との交流を積極的には行っていませんでした。
しかし、震災後に多くの支援者、ボランティア、学生、外国人など、これまでにないくらい様々な人と交流を深める機会が増えました。
そのなかで、自治体だけでなく、町民の視野も広くなったように感じています。

大槌の魅力を広め、これからも忘れないために

-町長は、40年以上大槌町の職員を務めておられ、まさに大槌の町に捧げてきたといえると思います。それは、大槌町の魅力が町長を惹きつけているのではないかとも考えたのですが、大槌の魅力、地域の強みはどのようなところだと思いますか?

日本全国そうだけど、特に自然の景観が美しい街だなあと感じます。
それに大槌町には郷土芸能団体が19団体あります。神楽であったり、虎舞であったり、獅子踊りであったり、七福神であったり、さまざまな団体が現在も活動しています。
こんな小さな町で、こんなにも多くの郷土芸能がある町ってなかなかないですよね。
歴史的にも古い土地で、香り高い文化のある町だと思います。人情味があり、心の優しい人がたくさんいる、そんな町ではないかなと感じます。

ワードプレス用

―震災直後から今まで、大槌町を含め被災地域で活動しているボランティアがたくさんいます。
ボランティアの活動を見て、どのように思いますか?また、4年が経過する今、ボランティアに行く意味があるのかという声もあります。
町長はどのように考えますか?

震災当時も今も心から感謝の気持ちでいっぱいです。
震災直後からの復旧期には全国からたくさんの方々が駆けつけて下さり、本当に助かりました。一方で、震災後3年4年と過ぎてくる中で、ボランティアも減り、震災が風化し始めているのは当然のことだと思います。
復旧期にはガレキ処理や泥の片づけなどマンパワーが必要な作業が多く、始めはボランティアに頼る部分もかなりありました。
でも今は、作業として業者の担う大きい工事が進められている状況にあります。
橋や道路を作る仕事などは、当然ボランティアじゃできません。そのかわり、復興のソフト面ともいえる住民の心のケア、例えば、応急仮設住宅の暮らしが長い皆さんを勇気づけるような存在、心の拠り所となり、被災地を励ます役割を担ってもらえるのではないかと思います。
私はいつも、「私たちはいつも大槌にいるので、来てくれるだけでありがたいです。」という話をします。そして大槌で買い物をして、ご飯を食べて、励ましてくれる、それだけでいいのです。大槌に来て感じた魅力についてほかの人へ発信してもらえれば、さらに嬉しいことです。
そして、例えば手紙などで交流が続くような大槌との繋がりを持っていただき、リピーターとなって足を運んで、長い目で復興を見守ってもらえたらありがたいですね。

―では最後に、現役の大学生や高校生に向けてのメッセ―ジをお願いします。

被災地を訪れたことのない学生は、一度来てみるべきだと感じています。
大槌は全人口の一割の方が亡くなり、いま、ゼロからのまちづくりをしています。多くの学生は、これから人生の中で、楽しいことだけでなく、様々な苦しみ悲しみにも遭遇するでしょう。
今、現実にこれほどの苦しみや悲しみに遭いながらも、再び立ち上がろうとするこの町の様子を目にし、ここに生きる人々の決意や明るさに触れることによって、視野が少し変わったり、自分を少し成長させることができたりするのではないかと思います。

http://youthfor311.com/interview-for-3-11-vol-3/

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.

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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.”

What Does Recovery Look Like?

The current recovery efforts in Japan following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami draws many parallels to our post-Sandy conditions in the Northeast U.S., and should temper our expectations and help illuminate realities of our road ahead. Do they have the answers we seek?

By Illya Azaroff, AIA
September 26, 2014

Since Superstorm Sandy, many of us have been engaged in recovery one way or another, as an architect, engineer, community leader, or as a person directly affected by the storm. It has been two years of a seemingly endless stream of work, skill-building, and knowledge-sharing since the storm surge hit the Northeast Region of the United States. Whether engaged in actual buildings, study, or debate, we seem to be wrapped up in the broad and deep issues of climate change and associated learning that accompanies our new reality in the Northeast.

One truth we are faced with is that the tendency for today’s culture to move rapidly from one subject to the next, so, too, is our attention span for news. Our collective conscious does not stay focused for long on any one thing. The post-Sandy environment is no different. Many people have already moved on to the next „big thing,“ noting that our problems have been solved with the billions of federal dollars pumped into the region. So we are going to be fine. However, if you are living through the recovery process as a displaced person or business owner left wondering when the neighborhood will bounce back, your perspective is plainly different. In this case, you may be of the mind to ask: Why is recovery taking so long? Are we done with rebuilding yet? How long is this going to take? Another six months? A year? Come on, let’s wrap this thing and move on … where’s my bagel? I’ll have that light and sweet…taxi!

But that’s the thing. We have not heard in a clear concise manner the answer to two very important questions: 1) What does recovery look like? 2) How long will the recovery process take? Answer these, and the truth will set in motion certain freedoms for everyone.

To get at these questions, I recently went to Japan to take a look at the recovery efforts from the March 11, 2011, when the Great Tohoku Earthquake and subsequent tsunami claimed more than 18,000 lives and devastated coastal areas throughout northeastern Japan. Surely the most prepared country in the world with the third largest economy draws many parallels to our conditions in the Northeastern U.S. Do they have the answers we seek?

As of March 2014, three full years after the tsunami, 270,000 people across the region are still displaced, living in temporary housing. That is down from 370,000 people who were initially displaced. New coastal defenses and infrastructure, such as sea walls, are under construction, but clearly far from completion. Debris from the tsunami is still evident in many places. In port cities such as in Ishinomaki (pop. 160,000), the economy has not recovered as businesses struggle to find customers and viable space, where once vibrant neighborhoods existed.

Sound familiar? Does this resonate with parts of Brooklyn and Queens? Is the economic struggle similar to the New Jersey Shore? Well – yes, it does. But do the Japanese have answers that can help forecast our recovery timeline?

Sendai City

 

On my tour I had the pleasure of visiting with Sendai City Government officials, who welcomed me with open arms and open minds. Sendai City Planning, Recovery Operations, Temporary Housing Unit, and the Office of the Mayor gave me an entire day of their valuable time to review the damage to the city and surrounding region. I was given presentations on long-term planning, and toured temporary and newly-constructed housing, where I talked with the people living there. Sendai is a city of 1.1 million people and lies on the coastal zone hit hard by the tsunami. Thousands of buildings were washed away, many of which were very robust, reinforced-concrete structures built to withstand earthquakes. As a result of the tsunami the city government has rezoned the affected areas as non-residential coastal zones; if you own land and want to rebuild there, you simply cannot. The decision was to not rebuild in these areas of known risk, and relocate all former residents to new housing and constructed neighborhoods within Sendai City. In essence, up-zoning and increased density in the city is the plan for recovery and resilience.

When asked about the strategy, city officials reinforced that life safety, even a single life, trumps tradition, and that the public good is protected by not living in high-risk zones. Layers of new infrastructure and coastal protection are being built in these zones to further protect Sendai City itself, which will also provide public amenities, such as parks, transit systems, farm land, etc. The plan considers the next 100 years and beyond for Sendai and the surrounding towns.

Could and should the Northeastern U.S. do the same? Move tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of residents off of the barrier islands, out of known areas of risk? For better or worse? With politics as they are, not likely.

Infrastructure projects, such as 40- to 60-foot-high sea walls, lifting of entire communities, and relocation of entire neighborhoods and towns are in full swing. There is no fear of shaping the landscape at large scales to achieve their goals, such as taking down entire mountains to raise entire towns through cut-and-fill.

Large-scale reshaping of the landscape is evident everywhere you look. Are we in for similar circumstances, or do we have the stomach for such moves? To date, very little large-scale coastal protection has been put in motion in the Northeast U.S. Plans by Rebuild by Design and the Army Corp of Engineers are encouraging, but far from a final design solution – and even further from implementation. What we do see is sand replenishment, constructed dunes and berms, rip-rap, and similar beach protection that could not withstand a Sandy-like event on their own.

But, even with Japan’s robust building effort, expectation and reality rub up against one another. Residents who live in the coastal communities being reshaped by large infrastructure projects rely on the sea as a primary revenue generator, and their fundamental relationship with the sea is integral to their lives. Giant sea walls change that relationship in a way that most cannot accept. The fight over sea walls is in full swing – they are not simply taking away the view – they are changing how one can access the water.

Learning from recovery

Among the many areas where we can learn a great deal from the great eastern earthquake is the Japanese method of evacuation and relocation. All displaced families registered to live in temporary housing near former neighbors to help maintain community ties. In fact, everywhere I travelled the idea of community and well-being that stems from knowing your neighbor was central to preparation, mitigation, and recovery. These are not simply displaced people or families; these are displaced communities that will stay together at all cost. New housing projects I visited confirmed that „community“ remained the governing factor to resilience-planning all the way through to resettlement. When interviewed, residents in both temporary and new housing alike were happy and smiling about their circumstances, noting that they are alive and well, and, more importantly, among friends and neighbors.

Simply put, the answer to the question „What does recovery look like,“ from the Japanese perspective, is the point when „community“ is maintained or re-established. Is that what recovery looks like for New York and New Jersey? Or does our recovery hinge on jobs, restarting the economic engine, and revenue generation? In a recent presentation at the Center for Architecture in Manhattan, I asked Dan Zarrilli, director of the New York City Office of Recovery and Resilience, the same question, and his response was tied to economy and jobs. Not a bad answer, but it reveals a different approach to recovery and our current problems.

Now to the question: How long does recovery take? It depends on how you characterize “recovery.” If it is defined as community or economy, then we may have a difficult task ahead. If we take on only the physical state of recovery – buildings, infrastructure, and associated networks – as our measure, then we can plan a timeline tied to goals set forth. How long will any of the Rebuild by Design projects take, soup to nuts?

In Japan, the timeline was clear and often stated in the news and media by officials who project another eight to nine years to complete the region’s plans. That is a total of 12 years to execute comprehensive rebuilding of coastal protection measures, major infrastructure, and resettlement. Again, this is a country of means, better prepared for disaster and recovery, with fewer political boundaries and entanglements. In fact, the officials, engineers, and architects doing the work all echo the desire to move rapidly, as many of the displaced are part of Japan’s growing ageing population. To a person, they do not want anyone’s last days to be in temporary housing – a point stressed again and again by everyone with whom I spoke.

The correlation to New York and New Jersey is no different, and we need to hear from our public officials that recovery of this type will take a decade at least. That bitter pill needs to be administered and swallowed because public expectations do not match physical reality. It is far better that communities and people who are waiting know the timeline and future risks, which will enable them to make the decision to either establish a new life somewhere else or wait it out.

One final point in need of a dose of reality is the cost of rebuilding. It will take hundreds of billions, if not trillions, of dollars to rebuild and make the Northeast Corridor resilient. A realistic price tag for the region is well beyond the federal dollars flowing slowly into these necessary efforts. But that is another story for another day.

We are not alone

The takeaway from my visit to Japan is the sense that everyone I met with is open to collaboration and information sharing. There is a hunger to know what we are doing here in the U.S., post-Sandy, and they recognize we can learn a great deal from one another. I believe that we share the same sentiment here in the Northeast. The world is collectively recognizing that we share a common future in dealing with climate change and defining resilience. I look forward to returning to Japan with an open mind and a desire to learn from our colleagues. And I look forward to a clearer path forward from our own leaders.

 http://www.archnewsnow.com/features/Feature457.htm

Illya Azaroff, AIA, is the founder of +LAB architect, PLLC in Brooklyn, NY, and an associate professor at New York City College of Technology (CUNY), where he shares his expertise in disaster mitigation and resilient building strategies. He is founding co-chair of AIA New York Chapter’s Design for Risk and Reconstruction Committee (DfRR), and was among the leaders of the AIANY Post-Sandy Initiative and a contributor to the Post-Sandy Initiative Report. The report received the 2014 AIA National Collaborative Achievement Award; Azaroff also received the 2014 AIA National Young Architects Award. He is a trained instructor with the NDTPC-National Disaster Training Preparedness Center in Hawaii, and trained in post disaster damage assessment (SAP) by Cal EMA. His work with the AIA Regional Working Group, which incorporates experts from four regional states, garnered Azaroff the 2014 AIANYS Presidential Citation. His research in Japan and other recent disaster sites around the world have been supported by a CUNY research grant. He serves on the AIA New York State board as New York Regional Director for the Young Architects Forum (YAF), and on the AIA New York Chapter board.

(click on pictures to enlarge)

Nishiko

Artist Nishiko’s visualization of the height of waves from the 2011 tsunami in Japan. Seawalls are being proposed across the region to meet these heights (up to approximately 65 feet).

Illya Azaroff

A typical current sea wall.

Illya Azaroff

Azaroff standing in front of a mock-up of proposed sea wall height.

Shigeru Ban Architects

Plan of Shigeru Ban’s three-story temporary housing in Onagawa, Japan.

Illya Azaroff

Shigeru Ban’s temporary housing in Onagawa started construction on July 22, 2011, and was completed on November 4, 2011.

Illya Azaroff

Community center for Shigeru Ban’s temporary housing, Onagawa.

Illya Azaroff

Sendai City temporary housing: Personal gardens, community spaces, and central square are part of the programmatic elements in these communities.

Illya Azaroff

Entryway adaptations to the temporary housing in Sendai City.

Illya Azaroff

Rain-water harvest adaptation for the temporary housing, Sendai City.

Illya Azaroff

Artwork adorns temporary housing units, Sendai City.

Illya Azaroff

Relocated indoor community space personalized with artwork by the children of the temporary housing community, Sendai City.

Illya Azaroff

Sendai City’s temporary housing, three years after the tsunami. Throughout the region 270,000 people are still displaced and living in housing such as this.

Illya Azaroff

New, multi-family replacement housing, Sendai City. Entire displaced communities were relocated together to keep a sense of neighborhood.

Illya Azaroff

Community centers and playing fields are regular programmatic elements in new Sendai City housing.

Illya Azaroff

Moving of 6-7 million cubic meters of earth for infill in Onagawa.

Marsha-Ann Cadougan/Illya Azaroff

Cut-and-fill process moving 6-7 million cubic meters of earth, Onagawa.

Marsha-Ann Cadougan/pluslab Architects

Existing roadway with proposed final height of Onagawa using 4-4.5-meter infill.

Marsha-Ann Cadougan/pluslab Architects

Dashed line indicates proposed height of infill for new Onagawa.

Illya Azaroff

Layers of coastal protection to be deployed in Ishinomaki, Japan.

Illya Azaroff

Sendai City Government meeting Illya Azaroff (center): l-r: Wataru Murakami, Manager, Sendai City Urban Planning Bureau; Masato Hasegawa Technical officer, Sendai City Urban Planning Bureau; Hitoshi Ichinohe, Seiichi Takahashi, Hiroshi Kyouya, Sendai City Urban Planning Bureau, Takeno Suzuki, Coordinator for International Relations, Miyagi Prefectural Government (translator).

Illya Azaroff

Illya Azaroff (right) with Onagawa engineer Takuro Kurushima, Construction Technology Institute (CTI) Engineering Co., Ltd., and former Director of Onagawa Reconstruction Office. They are standing in front of one of the remaining overturned structures that will be made into memorials to the devistation.

Japan after the tsunami – 進まぬ震災復興 東京五輪が奪うヒトやカネ

Auch vier Jahre nach dem Tsunami lässt der Wiederaufbau an der Sanriku Küste auf sich warten. Die Bauvorhaben für die Olympiade 2020 in Tokyo verteuern die Baumaterialien und das Interesse der Bauunternehmer, sich in Tohoku zu engagieren ist drastisch gesunken. So müssen die Evakuierten noch einige Jahre in ihren temporären Containern ausharren.

http://www.economist.com/news/asia/21642216-rebuilding-north-eastern-region-tohoku-being-bungled-grinding

Japan after the tsunami

Grinding on

Rebuilding the north-eastern region of Tohoku is being bungled

NEARLY four years after north-eastern Japan’s huge earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown on March 11th 2011, more than 170,000 people are still stuck in temporary housing along the ravaged coast. One of them is Sumiko Yoshida, a woman in her 70s who lives with her husband in cramped, mouldy quarters in Rikuzentakata, a fishing port that was washed away by the tsunami. More than 1,750 people died there, including the Yoshidas’ son, Isao, a city official who was helping others to get to higher ground. With no place to call home and no butsudan (household altar) for her son, Mrs Yoshida says she cannot properly mourn him—a photograph on a makeshift table has to do. She has suppressed her grief for so long, she says, that the tears will not come.

http://infographics.economist.com/2015/RikuzB4AFTA/RikuzA.html

Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, says that the devastated north-east is a crucial test of his plans to revive the country’s economy. Indeed, an early campaign stop for the general election last December was one of many prefabricated housing blocks crammed into school grounds in Rikuzentakata. Yet other national priorities seem to trump the region’s reconstruction. A building boom fuelled by Mr Abe’s monetary and fiscal stimulus has sucked construction capacity away from the north-east to Tokyo, where deals are more lucrative. Locals ask why the capital is building an ostentatious stadium for the Olympic games in 2020, when the poor and elderly who lost their homes in the tsunami are still not rehoused. Takuya Tasso, governor of Iwate, one of the worst-hit prefectures, says the government is losing interest in the region.

From the start, reconstruction called for money, energy and vision. In the months following the disaster locals showed great resilience, and volunteers from other parts of the country flocked to help. Some 20m tonnes of debris were quickly cleared. Hopeful planners sketched out new towns built on higher ground, powered by renewable energy. Some people even wondered whether rebuilding the north-east could pull the whole country out of its economic stagnation.

Given those early hopes, the slow progress has been hugely disappointing. Up and down the coast, much infrastructure has not been replaced and only a sixth of planned new construction of public housing has been finished. Drive through the wasteland of Rikuzentakata, and satellite-navigation screens eerily show where every house, petrol station and municipal building formerly stood. The city is only at the stage of moving earth from a nearby mountain to fill in land that sank by a metre (three feet) during the earthquake.

As for Ishinomaki, a city in Miyagi prefecture where 3,700 residents drowned in the tsunami, only 150-odd households have moved into permanent new housing, with 12,700 people still in temporary quarters. City officials in part blame the bureaucracy in Tokyo for delays in reconstruction. Ishinomaki’s mayor says it took six months for the farm ministry to allow paddy fields to be rezoned as land for a new city district.

http://infographics.economist.com/2015/RikuzAFTA2DAY/RikuzB.html

In many towns and villages, the early solidarity is now fraying as those with money build new homes. There have been disagreements between generations. Older residents are reluctant to leave coastal villages and family graves for good—many made a good living from oyster farming and fishing. Younger generations, by contrast, want to live in bigger, consolidated communities on higher ground behind the coast. Doubts that such towns will ever be built have quickened the region’s depopulation, under way even before the tsunami. The population of Iwate, the most northerly of the three prefectures that bore the brunt of the tsunami, has declined by 46,000 or nearly 3% since.

After the disaster the central government pledged ¥25 trillion ($213 billion) over five years. Yet the system bars much public money going directly to the victims. Those who lost homes can get a maximum of around ¥3m (many houses were uninsured). Many folk are in financial straits, often still paying mortgages on houses that were swept away and too poor to join communities planning to move to new towns.

Meanwhile, it is often the bosses of construction companies, rather than local officials or central government, who pick and choose what is built. When Rikuzentakata’s city government recently asked companies to bid for the construction of a new junior high school, developers said the budget was a third too low, and the project failed. A consequence is that local banks are brimming with government cash that is not being spent. In Kesennuma, a fishing port in which over 1,360 people died, the first new public-housing block for evacuees has only just opened. Construction firms are generally refusing to build such housing, says its mayor, Shigeru Sugawara. Japan’s reconstruction agency insists that project budgets are reasonable. But with labour and materials costs high, and a boom elsewhere, construction firms can cherry-pick what they take on.

In Kesennuma, for instance, they are happy to pour concrete into the first of over 70 new sea walls planned for the city of 67,000. These are walls, up to 90m wide and 15 metres high, which the central government decreed in 2011 were necessary to protect the north-eastern coastline. Up to ¥1 trillion is to be spent on them. Yet the sea walls are using up money that could be better spent elsewhere. The monstrosities are both unpopular and of little use. Even the land ministry admits that the planned walls would not have coped with the earthquake and tsunami of four years ago. Local leaders say they are moving ahead with the walls mainly because the central government insisted on them.

As for the evacuees, the real deadline for their rehousing may prove to be 2020, says Satoru Ito, who set up a non-profit organisation to help residents of Rikuzentakata after he lost his mother and home in the tsunami. For if they are still in temporary housing by the time of the Olympics, Mr Ito asks, “what will foreigners think?”

東日本大震災から間もなく4年。被災地の復興はいっこうに進んでいない。津波で家を奪われた人々はいまだに仮設住宅で先の見えない生活をしている。アベノミクスと東京五輪開催が起こした建設ラッシュは、被災地から人手や資材を奪い、一層復興を遅らせている。

 2011年3月11日に起きた東日本大震災と津波、その後の福島第一原発のメルトダウンから間もなく4年がたとうとしている。いまだに17万人以上の人々が荒れ果てたままの海辺に並ぶ仮設住宅で先の見えない生活をしている。

防災対策庁舎前で犠牲者の冥福を祈る復興工事の関係者たち(2014年9月11日、宮城県南三陸町)
画像の拡大

防災対策庁舎前で犠牲者の冥福を祈る復興工事の関係者たち(2014年9月11日、宮城県南三陸町)

そのうちの1人、70代のヨシダスミコさんは、津波に流された港町、岩手県陸前高田市の窮屈なカビ臭い仮設住宅で、夫と暮らしている。陸前高田市では1750人以上の人が亡くなった。ヨシダさんの息子イサオさんも、市職員として人々を高台に避難させていて命を落とした。

自宅と呼べる場所もなく、息子のための仏壇も持っていないヨシダさんは、息子をちゃんと弔うことができないと嘆く。間に合わせのテーブルに置かれた遺影だけがその役割を果たしている。彼女は長い間悲しみを抑えてきたので、涙はもうでないと言う。

■もうけが大きい東京の建設案件

安倍晋三首相は、東北の被災地復興は、自らが進める経済再生計画の極めて重要な試金石になると述べている。実際、安倍首相は、昨年12月の衆院選の早い段階で、陸前高田市にある学校の校庭にびっしりと並んだプレハブ住宅の1つに遊説に訪れた。

しかし今は、その他の課題が被災地復興よりも優先されているようだ。安倍首相が進める金融及び財政刺激策によって建設ブームが起こっており、東北地方に行くはずの人手や資材が東京に奪われている。東京で行われる建設案件の方がもうけが大きいからだ。

東北の人々は、こう疑問を口にする――津波で家を失った高齢者や貧しい人々がまだ新しい家に移っていない状態なのに、なぜ東京は2020年五輪のために派手な競技場を建設しようとしているのか。震災の被害が最も大きかった県の1つ、岩手県の達増拓也知事は、政府は東北への興味を失いつつあるのだと指摘する。

被災地の復興には、そもそも最初から資金とエネルギーとビジョンが必要だった。震災後の数カ月間、地元民たちは素晴らしい回復力を見せた。被災地を助けようと、各地からボランティアも集まってきた。これによって、約2000万トンのがれきがあっという間に取り除かれた。

希望に燃えた担当者たちは、再生可能エネルギーによって賄われる新しい街を高台につくる構想を描いた。東北の復興によって日本経済が景気低迷から脱出できるのではないかと考えた者すらいた。

■失われつつある連帯感

こうした最初のころの希望を考えると、復興がなかなかはかどらない現状は極めて残念だ。海岸線を見渡しても、新しくなったインフラはあまりない。計画された公営住宅の建設もわずか6分の1しか完了していない。

分別して集積されたがれき(2011年5月25日、宮城県石巻市)
画像の拡大

分別して集積されたがれき(2011年5月25日、宮城県石巻市)

陸前高田市の荒れ地をクルマで走ると、カーナビの画面には以前そこに建っていた住宅やガソリンスタンド、市庁舎が不気味に映し出される。同市は現在、地震で1メートルも沈下した地盤を埋めるために、近くの山から土を運んでいる段階だ。

一方、津波で3700人の住民が亡くなった宮城県石巻市では、新しい恒久住宅に移ったのはわずか150余世帯。いまだに1万2700人が仮設住宅で暮らしている。市当局は、復興が進まない原因の一端は国の官僚主義にあると非難する。石巻市長によると、新たに町を作るため水田だった土地を市街化区域へと区分変更するのに、農林水産省は6カ月もかかったという。

多くの町や村で、震災直後に存在した連帯感が失われつつある。お金のある人は次々と新しい家を建てているからだ。世代間の意見の相違も顕著だ。年配の人は海沿いの村や家族の墓から永久に離れたくないと思っている――彼らの多くがかきの養殖や漁業で良い暮らしをしてきた。一方、若い世代は、海岸から離れた高台の、より大きく統合された共同体で暮らしたがっている。

そのような町が果たして建設されるのかという疑念が、津波が発生する前から進んでいたこの地域の過疎化を加速している。津波被害を受けた3県の中で最も北に位置する岩手県では、震災以来、人口が4万6000人減少している。これは県の総人口の約3%に当たる

震災後、政府は5年間で25兆円に及ぶ復興予算を約束した。だが、制度的な問題のために、公的資金の多くは被災者の元に届いていない。住宅を失った人がもらえるのは最大でも300万円程度(多くの住宅が保険の補償対象外だった)。多くの人が経済的に厳しい状態にあり、津波に流された家のローンを今も払い続けている場合もある。そして、経済的余裕がないために新しい町への移転を計画するコミュニティーに加わることができない。

■建設会社は仕事をえり好み

何を建設するかを決めるのは、自治体でも政府でもなく、建設会社の社長である場合が多い。以前、陸前高田市で中学校の新校舎を建設する入札を行ったところ、業者たちは予算が3分の1低いと言い、入札は不調に終わった。こうした事態が増え、使われない政府の現金が地方の銀行にあふれかえっている。

1360人以上が犠牲になった漁港の町、宮城県気仙沼市では、避難者向けの公営住宅の第1号が完成し、入居が始まった。同市の菅原茂市長は、こうした住宅建設のほとんどの案件を、建設会社は拒否すると言う。復興庁は、公営住宅建設の予算は妥当な金額だと主張する。だが、ほかの場所で建設ラッシュが起き、労働コストや資材コストが上がっている今、建設会社は引き受ける仕事をえり好みできる。

例えば人口6万7000人の気仙沼市に70カ所以上建設することになっている巨大防潮堤は建設会社にとって人気のプロジェクトだ。これは最大で幅90メートル、高さ15メートルの壁で、政府が東北の海岸線を守るために必要だとして、2011年に建設を命じた。最大1兆円が防潮堤の建設に費やされることになっている。

防潮堤は、別のところでもっと良い使い方ができるはずの予算を食いつぶしている。この巨大建造物は住民の間で人気がないばかりかほとんど役に立たない。国土交通省ですら、この壁は4年前の地震と津波に耐えられなかっただろうと認めている。自治体のリーダーたちは、防潮堤の建築を推進しているのは、主として、政府がそれを求めているからだと語る。

避難民の住宅問題を解決する本当の期限は2020年になるかもしれない。津波で母と家を失った後、陸前高田市の住民を助ける非政府組織(NGO)を設立したイトウサトル氏はこう言う。もし、東京オリンピックのときにまだ彼らが仮設住宅に住んでいたとしたら、「外国の人たちはどう思うだろうか」とイトウ氏は問う。

(c)2015 The Economist Newspaper Limited. Feb 7th 2015 All rights reserved.

英エコノミスト誌の記事は、日経ビジネスがライセンス契約に基づき翻訳したものです。英語の原文記事はwww.economist.comで読むことができます。

Finding a place to call home still plagues Japanese displaced by quake and tsunami

BY MIMI WHITEFIELD

MWHITEFIELD@MIAMIHERALD.COM

01/08/2015 7:00 AM

arahama_ariel1 arahama_ariel2

SENDAI, JAPAN

For Kiichi Kida, the reason he doesn’t want to leave the land where the Great East Japan Earthquake shook his home and then triggered a killer tsunami that swept it away begins 500 years ago. That’s where he starts the story of his fight to stay on his land in Arahama, a southeastern coastal district of Sendai that was devastated on March 11, 2011 when 36-foot waves — looking more like a black stew of broken trees, bobbing cars and unmoored houses than water — rushed far, far inland. His ancestors, he explains, were samurai who lived on Shikoku, an island in western Japan. After they hung up their swords five centuries ago, they moved to the Arahama area where fish were plentiful and the mountains full of game.

Now, little remains of Arahama beyond the stone foundations of the homes once occupied by Kida, 69, and his neighbors. The city has told them they can’t rebuild on their ancestral lands because they are too close to the coast.

APTOPIX Japan Earthquake (1)

Waves of the 2011 tsunami hit residences after a powerful earthquake in Natori, Miyagi prefecture (state), Japan, March 11, 2011. It was the largest earthquake in Japan’s recorded history. | AP

The local government would like to buy the land and turn it into a park or other public facility, but it can’t force people like Kida to sell.That tug-of-war in Arahama points up the problems of reconstruction and rebuilding lives nearly four years since the twin wallop of the earthquake and tsunami claimed nearly 16,000 lives — 2,623 are also still listed as missing — and destroyed 127,305 homes. More than 1 million others were damaged.

In Arahama, 187 people died and six are classified as missing. It once had a population of 3,400, but now Arahama is little more than a ghost town. A wall of water that swept over the pine forest separating the community from the wide beach snapped off the trees like toothpicks and turned them into spears that came crashing into homes. “It’s the city’s opinion they should move to a safe place, rather than rebuild — expensively — on a coastal site,” said Kenichi Suzuki, who has been working with tsunami victims on behalf of Sendai’s Wakabayashi ward office. But that collides with a traditional way of thinking that some residents still embrace. “They believe that the ancestor spirits still reside in these areas and they should protect the land for them,” said Akiko Sugita, secretary general of Japan’s Foreign Press Center. “Public authorities want to encourage them to give up the land and move on, but it is taking a long time.”

Even for the third-largest economy in the world, putting communities back together is a struggle. During the disaster, 470,000 people were forced out of their homes. Some 240,000 people, including 80,000 evacuated because of the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster that followed the quake and tsunami, are still displaced. They live in temporary housing or bunk with relatives and friends. “Home rebuilding is our top priority,” said Yoshifumi Ayusawa, of Japan’s Reconstruction Agency. But shortages of building materials and construction workers, land ownership issues and the relocation of residents from areas no longer considered inhabitable have slowed the process. This fiscal year work is expected to be underway on 87 percent of the public housing planned for those who lost homes. Over the span of five years, the cost of reconstruction is expected to reach $220 billion. The plan is to close the reconstruction agency dealing with the triple disaster known as 3-11 by March 2021 but the expectation is that dealing with the fallout from the nuclear plant will take far longer. Some 1.35 million tons of debris were cleaned up in Sendai after the tsunami and quake and the mountains of destroyed cars were sent to the recyclers long ago.

But the memories of March 11 are everywhere.

The bridge where traffic became so congested that people couldn’t escape still stands. At the Yuriage Junior High in nearby Natori, the clock is still stopped at 2:46 p.m., the hour the 9.0 earthquake — the greatest magnitude ever recorded in Japan — hit 40 miles offshore.

Along the more than 300 miles of Japanese coastline affected by the tsunami, tide walls are being constructed or rebuilt, and the concrete barriers — the highest will be nearly as tall as a five-story building — aren’t without controversy.

Critics claim this Great Wall of Japan won’t be sufficient to protect against a tsunami of the magnitude that ravaged the coast on March 11, are an eyesore that cuts off the sea from fishing communities and could adversely affect the environment. The government says they are needed to save lives in a country that experiences 1,000 earthquakes a year.

In Sendai, the tsunami walls are being raised from almost 20 feet to 23.6 feet. Work also has begun on raising land that sank as much as three feet after the quake and elevating a 6.2-mile stretch of the Sendai Tobu highway to 20 feet. New stairways and signs indicating people should climb the highway embankments in the face of a tsunami are being put up. The highway project is expected to take five years to complete but officials say it is vital because during the 2011 tsunami elevated sections of the highway prevented waves from flowing even further inland. “We think that with these two barriers (the elevated highway and the walls), we will be able to protect against a tsunami of the once- in-100-years variety,” said Suzuki. But the waves that pounded the northeastern coast of Japan in 2011 were of the once-in-a-millennium variety. Simulations show that with the raised embankment and higher tsunami walls, flooding on the west side of the elevated road would be less than 6 1/2 feet. Through such simulations, “we’re gaining more knowledge about how tide walls can save lives,” said Katsumi Abe, of the Miyagi Harbor Restoration agency. “We expect when the repairs are complete, this area will be safer than before.”

But Kida doesn’t think so: “I’ve opposed the walls from the beginning. They are changing the land. Every time it rains, the water flows toward the sea and those flows shouldn’t be interrupted. We think Sendai City isn’t putting enough focus on nature.” As the fractious debate continues, memories of the snowy March day when coastal residents’ world went under water are still causing psychological scars. Kida is determined to hold on to his plot even as he readies a home site further inland. “My ancestors are here and I want to protect this area as long as possible,” he said. “People should have a choice where they want to live; they shouldn’t be forced. The decision to establish restricted areas is up to Sendai and the other towns and cities along the coast, Abe said. But Kida said his ancestors came “hundreds of years before Sendai was established. I am not leaving because the city says I have to.”

He heads an organization called The Group that Wants Restoration of Arahama. “We think that living on the shore is natural in an island like Japan. Modern technology should make this possible,” Kida said. On his former home site, he has put up two buildings that seem quite permanent but technically aren’t homes. One, which has electricity and cooking facilities, is the club house for the Arahama group. The other, which includes a bathroom, will be Kida’s personal office. One of his neighbors — the only one in the community to resume fishing — has built two rough fish shacks on the land where his home once stood, and Chickako Syoji, who does office work for the Arahama restoration group, has put up a tent near her former home’s foundation stones. She dreams of someday having a seaside library on the spot. It wouldn’t be a conventional library, but rather a place where local people could come together to tell their stories and bring in books they wanted to share with others. “It won’t be a big square building with a lot of books,” she said. “My son is a librarian. It’s still in the concept stage and we’re still figuring out the details.”

But despite the hopeful dreams, Arahama and Yuriage are still desolate. Here and there a lonely pine that escaped the onslaught punctuates the coastline or a battered concrete block home stands.

“When we first came back to see Arahama, it was swept clean; there was just this vast space and it was horrifying,” said former resident Adachi Tadashi, a community leader. He later found his crushed house 2.5 miles inland. Homes, businesses, boats and the top soil from farmlands also were washed away in Yuriage. Now the wide open fields make it resemble a rural area and vegetation is beginning to reclaim the roads in a 158-acre protected area where no home can be rebuilt. “Part of the reason the damage was so great here was because we weren’t acting responsibly,’’ said Koichi Sakurai, who worked in a Yuriage seafood processing plant and fish market that was destroyed by the tsunami. “People in this area weren’t expecting a tsunami or perhaps only a small one.” Instead, he said, the giant waves came five times, killing 750 people in a district that had a pre-tsunami population of 5,000. “Evacuation drills only took place once a year — and usually only elderly people participated,” said Sakurai. “But it was a drill in name only.’’

He shows a terrifying aerial video of people moving leisurely toward higher ground as, apparently unbeknown to them, a menacing wall of water just a few rows of houses away rushes toward them.

No tsunami warning was given in Yuriage, Sakurai said, because the earthquake had already knocked out emergency communications equipment. In other areas, the rising water damaged emergency equipment. “They thought all they had to do was install the devices and their job was over. Residents have lost faith in the authorities and that is one reason reconstruction is so slow in this area,’’ Sakurai said. Abe, of the Miyagi Harbor Restoration agency, said lessons were learned during the tsunami and new emergency facilities will be built on higher ground. Meanwhile, the work of repairing docks and fish packing and distribution houses continues. The ports in Miyagi Prefecture sustained damage of around $2.2 billion but all are now at least partially operational. Many people don’t want to return to Yuriage even though they still owe debt on their destroyed homes, Sukurai said. “If I had the money, I would be rebuilding elsewhere,” he added. Many former residents are still living in temporary housing far inland from Yuriage.

“My mother is 85 years and she says she doesn’t plan to have a funeral in temporary housing,’’ Sakurai said. “I’m grateful for temporary housing but now very few people are appreciating it.” Scattered around Sendai, a city of 1.7 million, are 20 temporary housing sites with 1,500 units. Many more families, said Suzuki, have rented apartments on their own. Around 130 families live in temporary quarters on a city-owned site earmarked for the Arai elementary school. Some residents have tried to brighten up their low portable dwellings with plants and flowers but others have fallen into depression. Teams of mental health workers visit periodically. “Some are really depressed and for them, small problems can seem very big. Everyone is feeling stress but some people are annoyed by the very trivial,” said Tadashi, 72, who is a leader at temporary housing as he was in Arahama. “They complain their neighbors are too noisy or they hear pigeons and sparrows walking around on the tin roofs because people are feeding them,” he said. “We listen to their stories even if we can’t solve them. I do think this has helped me grow as a person.” To keep spirits up, there is karaoke and dancing at the community center, and a group of women has learned to play songs, such as Orange Tree on the Hill on the koto, a traditional instrument.

Katsuyoshi Hayasaka, 74, who headed the Arahama Residents’ Association has taken up a similar role at the Arai community. During the tsunami, he helped to organize community residents who sought refugee at the Arahama Elementary School and were rescued by helicopter from the roof. At the school, he tried to keep his neighbors together and drew up lists of who was there and who wasn’t. “It was very cold and the teachers tore down the curtains and wrapped the children in them,’’ he said. Now he feels a similar sense of responsibility for the people at Arai. Syoji also lives there with her 89-year-old mother Tsumeko. They are packed in but the tiny apartment does have air conditioning and everyone was given a refrigerator, microwave, rice cooker, small television, washing machine, blankets and a pot to boil water. Still, Tsumeko is happy. When the family’s home was swept way, the wooden memorial plaque for her ancestors was lost. It later turned up in a lost-and-found and she beamed as she displayed the nicked but still intactihai to a visitor.

Syoji had hoped to only be in temporary quarters for two years but she said there have been delays in finishing the public housing where she hopes to move. Sendai plans 3,200 units of new public housing but in October, just 660 units had been completed.At Arai-higashi, where a new 197-unit building recently opened, residents gathered at the community center on a rainy afternoon after the remnants of a typhoon had blown through. Even though the complex hasn’t been fully completed, they were moved in anyway because the need was so great. The rent varies at Arai-higashi depending on income, but it is about one-third the cost of regular public housing.About a third of the residents used to live in Arahama, and about 40 percent are 65 years or older — an age when change comes hard. With Suzuki’s help, they had just formed a residents association. “We’re planning on building a community here,” said Kimio Oyashi, 71, the newly minted association president. “We’re pretty satisfied to be here. The size of our apartments is about double what it was in temporary housing. And there you could hear everything the neighbors were doing.” “We’re making efforts to get our lives back together. We just have to keep trying,’ said Teruko Sumi, who recently move in with her two chihuahuas. Unlike most public housing buildings, pets are allowed at Arai-higashi.

Tani Endo, who used to live in Arahama, is feeling much better since the first traumatic days after the tsunami. “It was almost like watching a movie — not our real lives. People were all stacked together after the disaster and we all had to sleep in the same room. “I try to forget but when I look from this building I can see the place where all the pines trees were in Arahama and now there is nothing there,” she said. “But this is a nice place and we have our privacy. Now we are smiling again.” “More than 3 1/2 years have passed,” said Oyashi. “Many people who are here lost everything and we think living in a safe place is most important. Only a small percentage of people want to return — mostly the rice farmers. But for former office workers, it is just too scary.” Sokichi Shoji, 78, and his wife Sachiko have done their best to make their new apartment seem like home even though it is only about a third of the size of their former house. They have brought in plants, artificial turf and stones to recreate the tranquility of a zen garden on their small balcony.

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/article5653362.html

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

9月5日(代々木オリンピックセンター)9月6日(赤坂ドイツ文化会館)にて開催の「第二回三陸復興シンポジウム」にて、世界中で注目されている防潮堤問題、海と生きるふるさとの人々、海外の生徒達と被災地の小学生達と行った「海と生きる」交換ワークショップなどから得た、持続可能な災害復興と安全で豊かな未来のあり方について、国際的視点から意見を発表します。

入場無料、予約不要、発表は日本語英語ドイツ語に通訳ですので、みなさまお誘い合わせの上、ぜひご意見をお伝えにいらしてみてください。(大塚)

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

Anfahrtsbeschreibung:

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.

eight_col_tsunami_shrine
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.

four_col_tsunami_tower_1_-_wide_shot_cropped__fixed

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.

Link

Drei Jahre sind vergangen

Vor genau drei Jahren, am 11.3.2011 ist Japan um 14:46 Uhr von einem Erdbeben der Stärke 9,0 erschüttert worden. Der darauf folgende Tsunami, der Höhen von 40 Metern erreichte, hat ca. 500 km der Küstenregion in Tohoku überrollt, 15 884 Menschen getötet und mehrere 100 000 Häuser und Wohnungen zerstört. Noch immer sind 2 363 Menschen vermisst und über 3 000 Menschen sind in Folge des Unglücks gestorben. Die Explosionen im Kernkraftwerk Daiichi haben weitere 150 000 Menschen heimatlos gemacht und weite Landstriche von Fukushima wurden verstrahlt. Zusätzlich ist das Wasser der Flüsse, das Grundwasser und das Meer stark belastet. Aufgrund der Wohnverhältnisse sind viele Familien getrennt, Misshandlungen der traumatisierten Kinder nehmen zu.

Lasst uns die Katastrophe nicht vergessen und sie als Chance sehen, den Kontakt mit den Menschen in Tohuku zu vertiefen und ein Zeichen Deutsch Japanischer Freundschaft zu setzen. Unterstützen Sie die 2. Deutsch Japanische Summer School „Sanriku Fukkou“ im September 2014.

 

Tohoku population 2010: 9,335,636
Tohoku population 2013: 9,109,167

Total killed = 15,884
Total missing = 2,363
Total injured = 6,147

died because of 3.11.= 3,046

Collapsed buildings = 127,290
Half collapsed = 272,788
Partially damaged = 747,989

Estimated damages = ¥25 trillion ($300 billion)
Debris Swept off shore = 5 million tons

(As of February 10, 2014 by National Police Agency of Japan)