Fukushima and the 2011 earthquake
It has been 9 years since the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake, a natural disaster which resulted in a total of 22,167 casualties and missing persons. 47,737 people were forced to flee their homes and relocate to areas across Japan. In 9 years, the population of the three most affected prefectures has decreased by approximately 340,000 people. Today, 709 people living in the Iwate, Miyazaki, and Fukushima prefectures remain in temporary housing (as of March 11th, 2020).
As of the beginning of March 2020, the three cities of Futaba, Okuma, and Tomioka have partially lifted their evacuation orders. However, the majority of these areas that are deemed “difficult to return to” remain locked in this state.
Restoration efforts continue to this day. The government is concerned over the removal of contaminated water, as 170 metric tons of contaminated water are produced daily. Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc. estimates that by 2022, there will no longer be enough space to contain this water. The question of how to dispose of radioactive substances when decommissioning the nuclear reactors still remains unsolved.
Origin of Support
As CheFuKo, our activities began after surveying the areas damaged by the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and considering what could be done to help the affected communities. In May of 2013, an observation team was formed to investigate local needs.
After interacting with evacuees and local groups providing support, we conducted trial and error processes to determine what kind of aid was most requested. Following several more needs assessments, we began operations in September 2013.
① Thermotherapy treatment
Today, we continue to visit Fukushima on a monthly basis and provide thermotherapy treatment for the local elderly population, creating an opportunity for them to relax and discuss their needs.
② Exchange of Christmas cards
③ Fukushima Revitalization Tour
④ Emergency relief activities