- Reconstruction - one year later - German

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Reconstruction - one year later

. Reconstruction Efforts - the first year .

Further German Reference, see below.


February 25, 2012

Rubble: on the ground, and in our hearts
Yesterday, a friend posted before and after photos of tsunami-affected areas in Tohoku on my facebook page. Picture after picture contrasted areas engulfed by water and rubble with the new rubble-free, grey, barren landscape. I viewed them with mixed emotions of marvel (at the transformation) and sometimes distress (at the dreariness of the vision. Some areas have been reduced to bare earth, devoid of houses, shops, trees, or any sign of life).
I recalled how enormous the task of clearing the rubble seemed last March and April, and also the spirit of humility and generosity that blew across the country as a whole. There was very little whining about the inconveniences of daily life last spring (and there are plenty such inconveniences in a country where even the rich do not live in large spacious houses), and people felt good about sacrifice.

It was then that I wrote my first blog entries, trying desperately to record the changes in attitude of those around me, and to make sense of the complexities of the 3-11 disaster and the nation’s response.

more from Ruthie Iida
Kanagawa Notebook

source : notes from hadano


March 6, 2012 - Japan Times

Island fortresses floated for Tohoku
Tohoku Sky Village
Keiichiro Sako of Sako Architects has formulated a blueprint incorporating groups of such isles that will form entire towns and cities, creating a Utopian world he believes would be strong enough to withstand even the most lethal waves.
... Each island will be bolted deep into the bedrock via a series of vast pillars. The exterior walls will be built from 50-cm thick reinforced concrete, while ground floor utility spaces will be compartmentalized in a radial formation for even stress distribution, similar to the way spokes reinforce a bicycle wheel.
city of Natori in Miyagi Prefecture.
Architect Toyo Ito
Minna no Ie (House for All)
In addition to increasing the height of the port-side seawalls from 4 to 6 meters, Ito also is proposing a land-based line of defense in the form of a landscaped waterfront park that will stand up to 13 meters high.
Lined by cherry trees, the park will form a formidable front to a residential zone of steep-roofed, A-frame communal dwellings built in a traditional "gassho-zukuri" thatched-roof style, each containing 16 residential units.
It will also employ an interconnected network of various energy sources — including wind, thermal and hydro — to ensure a continuous electricity supply even after a natural disaster.

Government to pay debris disposal costs

The environment minister offers financial support to any local government that disposes of disaster debris from Iwate and Miyagi prefectures amid persistent reluctance to do across most of the country.


岩手県山田365日復興の歩み Iwate Yamada
Video - New Supermakred opening
source : www.youtube.com


March 7, 2012

Fisheries rebound at sporadic pace
The Tohoku region's fisheries are still struggling to rebound as the first anniversary nears of the March 11 megaquake and monster tsunami that devastated the industry and claimed the lives of so many linked to the sector.


March 8, 2012

Tohoku fears nuke crisis evacuees gone for good
Although there have been no reports of any Fukushima residents suffering health problems linked to radiation, local communities fear many who fled amid the triple-meltdown crisis will never return.

A year on, no tsunami-hit community has clear plan to move to high ground
Despite government efforts to relocate households inland or to higher ground in Tohoku, none of the affected municipalities has drawn up the necessary plans.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Public halls still closed in disaster-hit areas - NHK
NHK has learned that more than 20 percent of public halls have still not reopened in the northeastern prefectures hit by last year's disaster.
NHK surveyed cultural facilities with large halls for more than 1,000 people.
They remain closed due to badly damaged ceilings and stage equipment at 10 of the 42 facilities in the 3 disaster-hit prefectures of Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima.
Part of the ceiling fell down and walls were damaged at a public hall in Sendai City in Miyagi. Repair work is underway and the hall is scheduled to reopen in June.
At a culture center in Fukushima City, many panels fell from the ceiling onto the seats. The quake-resistance of the building needs to be reviewed and it is not expected to reopen until the end of September.
It is not known if some facilities in the hard-hit areas can ever reopen or will have to be rebuilt elsewhere.
The damage continues to affect cultural events in the region more than one year after the March 11th disaster.


Friday, March 23, 2012

Tsunami-hit community to relocate - NHK
A coastal city in Miyagi Prefecture, northeastern Japan, has decided to relocate its 6 tsunami-stricken communities to higher ground inland.
They will be the first relocations in a government-sponsored program.
Iwanuma City suffered great damage in the March 11th disaster, with the death toll reaching 185 and more than 2,000 houses damaged.
About 480 out of more than 600 households in the city's 6 coastal communities have agreed to take part in the municipality's relocation program.
Their relocation to 2 inland sites totaling 20 hectares is aimed at avoiding damage from future tsunamis.
About 220 households said they would choose to live in a house of their own, and about 150 others opted for less costly public housing.
The estimated cost of buying the land where the residents once lived and developing the inland sites is about 134 million dollars.
The central government, which is subsidizing the relocation program, is expected to approve the plan as early as the end of this month.
The city hopes to complete the relocations within 2 years.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tohoku in rebuilding bubble

Money, workers having dramatic effect but no plans set for bust

Wakabayashi Ward in the city of Sendai

As Tohoku struggles to rebuild from last year's quake and tsunami, money continues to pour into the region in the form of central government subsidies for cleanup, repair and reconstruction.

The result has been a reconstruction bubble providing a massive cash infusion to not only construction-related companies, but also local service industries. People from all over the country are moving into the region in search of work, although concern is growing that once the subsidies dry up, it could face a long and protracted slump.

The following are some questions and answers
about the reconstruction boom in Tohoku.

What effect is the rebuilding bubble having on Sendai?
What about the bubble's effect on morale and other intangibles?
Is it only the area around the train station that's doing well?
Are the people pouring into Tohoku for construction work getting paid more?
Is it all good news for construction workers?
To what extent are yakuza involved in the reconstruction boom?
Are there concerns the bubble will soon end?

Answers are here
source : Japan Times


Monday, April 2, 2012

Reconstructing Tohoku to fit today
The official and unofficial memorial ceremonies marking one year since the massive March 11 earthquake and tsunami that devastated the Tohoku region of Japan, killing some 16,000 people, are now past. The question remains though: Will Japan's politicians and bureaucrats come together and heed a simple lesson that other policymakers faced with massive rebuilding efforts have learned before — namely, that bigger is not always better on the road to recovery?
..... In Japan, as elsewhere, construction firms, real estate developers and insurance companies — all with their own financial incentives and perspectives — add to the mix in shaping what is to be rebuilt, as well as when and how, following a natural or man-made disaster. Even the multilateral financial institutions, such as the Asian Development Bank, which have provided technical assistance and financing support to help developing nations rebuild infrastructure after natural disasters — including China after the massive May 2008 Sichuan earthquake, which killed some 68,000 people — are not immune to incentives gone awry.

Curtis S. Chin
is a senior fellow and executive-in-residence at the Asian Institute of Technology and managing director for River Peak Group.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Incredible images capture surreal disaster zone
American Toby Marshall says
'I can't tell you how many times I cried behind the camera'
Twisted wreckage thrown against the pastoral countryside, surreal scenes of the elements of everyday horribly juxtaposed, a world exploded yet eerily calm in its chaos. The photos are at once deeply disturbing and uncomfortably captivating. Rich colors, uncanny detail and stunning skies brought out by high dynamic range imaging techniques draw the eye in ever further. These are the work of American Toby Marshall, some 24 photos that created a stir while on display recently at the OAG House (German Culture Center) in Tokyo.


Monday, May 14, 2012

Extra work jacking up disaster housing costs

Homes built for tsunami victims not made with cold in mind

Construction costs for temporary housing compounds built in areas hit by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami are snowballing.

Some 52,000 temporary housing units have been built in the three hardest-hit northeastern prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry initially put standard construction costs at ¥2,387,000 per unit. But the actual cost has risen to around ¥6 million because the estimate didn't take into account expenses for developing nonflooded land as construction sites, and for setting up water and power systems, people familiar with the situation said.
Repeated work to reinforce insulation in the walls and roofs and add double glazing to the windows of the frigid units also pushed up the costs.

The three Tohoku prefectures had already estimated per-unit costs of ¥5.2 million to ¥5.5 million, including expenses for protection against cold weather and snow. But those numbers had climbed to ¥5.68 million in Iwate, ¥6.64 million in Miyagi and ¥5.74 million in Fukushima on average by the end of March.

The increases are also being attributed to additional work to make bathrooms and rest-rooms barrier-free, as well as to build more gathering places for residents and to pave gravel areas. Officials from the prefectures said they never imagined the costs running this high.
But costs are expected to climb even higher — by some ¥500,000 per unit — as the central government pushes for adding water-reheating functions to the baths and storage facilities.
Furthermore, 80 percent of the temporary housing compounds will eventually require ¥1 million each for demolition costs, taking total expenses above ¥8 million in Miyagi Prefecture.
Fukushima officials blamed the central government for failing to draft housing specifications for snowy regions in the first place.
"The additional work consumed time, resources and money," they said.

An official at the Japan Prefabricated Construction Suppliers & Manufacturers Association said hundreds of thousands of yen could have been saved if the additional work hadn't been required.


June 23, 2012

White paper calls for preplanning reconstruction
A government white paper says planning for post-disaster reconstruction is needed ahead of time in case of a large-scale disaster.
This year's paper on disaster management says, one year after the March 11th quake and tsunami, only 26 percent of the farmland and about half of the seafood processing facilities in the disaster-hit areas have been restored.
It also says only about 15 percent of the 19 million tons of rubble left by the tsunami has been disposed of or processed. It says this is proof that a lot of time will be needed to rebuild the affected areas.
The white paper says current laws have very few provisions on reconstruction.
It calls on the government to set up in advance the system and organizations under which long-term support can be provided for affected people.

July 3, 2012

Evacuees give up on no-go zone
FUKUSHIMA — About 40 percent of evacuees from the town hosting the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant have no intention of returning there, a recent poll indicated Monday.
Releasing the results of the poll on 10,025 residents of Okuma, which is within the no-entry zone, Mayor Toshitsuna Watanabe said at a press conference, "Many residents want to return home but they have judged they cannot do so . . . "

'Temporary towns' in works for Fukushima's displaced
FUKUSHIMA — The government said it will support a "temporary town plan" drawn up by four Fukushima municipalities that were evacuated because of massive radioactive contamination caused by the prefecture's nuclear crisis.
The plan was revealed Sunday in a draft of the government's basic policy on reconstructing the prefecture.
It was presented at a meeting in the city of Fukushima the same day attended by local government representatives.
Fukushima Gov. Yuhei Sato said afterward that he basically approved the draft.
... The temporary town plan being studied by the towns of Futaba, Okuma, Namie and Tomioka calls for setting up schools, administrative offices and other facilities in municipalities where the towns' residents evacuated to. ...

Iitate village decides on reconstruction plan
A village assembly in Japan's Fukushima Prefecture has adopted a roadmap for rebuilding the village before its residents can return home.
Iitate Village is located northwest of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. All of its residents, numbering over 6,000, evacuated from the village after the disaster at the plant on March 11th last year.

On Tuesday, the village assembly approved a draft reconstruction plan drawn up by a council of experts and former villagers. The move comes 2 weeks before the village is to be divided into 3 types of evacuation zone, designated by radiation level.
The plan calls for setting up a base in the village to help residents return home when decontamination efforts cause radiation levels to fall to a safe enough level. The base will be set up in the Nimaibashi District, where the radiation level is currently lower than in other areas of the village.
The plan also calls for building public housing in the district and promoting renewable energy industry in order to create jobs.
The plan also calls for building public housing outside the village to support young parents who have chosen not to return to the village because of work or concerns about the effect of radiation on the health of their children.
The public housing would be built in Kawamata Town and Fukushima City, where evacuees from Iitate Village live. There is also a plan for a community center to be open for young parents and their children.
Iitate Mayor Norio Kanno says facilities will be built in and outside the village to help those who want to return, those who want to return but cannot do so, and those who cannot return.

July 22, 2012

Disaster-hit museum celebrates 11th anniversary
A museum dedicated to the works of manga artist Shotaro Ishinomori celebrated its 11th anniversary in tsunami-hit Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture.
Ishinomori is known for "Kamen Rider" and other titles. The museum was established to display his original drawings, but closed after being severely damaged by last year's tsunami.
People in Ishinomaki held an event to celebrate the museum's anniversary on Sunday at a nearby makeshift shopping street. Parents and children watched a live stage performance by local heroic characters, and also enjoyed making original manga key holders.
Children cheered as they saw a new monument to Ishinomori's character known as "Kikaida" on the temporary shopping street.
Its old version in the city center was washed away by the tsunami.
Restoration work is underway at the museum for its reopening before the end of the year.
The president of the company that operates the museum says he wants to make the reopening an opportunity for people of all ages to enjoy Ishinomori's great works. The museum attracted about 200,000 visitors every year before the tsunami.


October 25, 2012

Manpower shortages delay Tohoku reconstruction

A survey by the Board of Audit of Japan shows a lack of civil engineers is hampering efforts to rebuild areas devastated by the March 11th disaster.
The survey found less than half the reconstruction funds, earmarked for 58 hard-hit towns, was used by the close of last fiscal year ending in March.
Over 8 billion dollars was designated for use in 7 prefectures.

The official says many of those municipalities have a dire need for specialists capable of tackling the mountain of infrastructure projects.
Engineers in Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture, were saddled with a workload 20 times larger than before the March disasters. Specialists in the city of Ishinomaki, in Miyagi Prefecture, are 15 times more in demand.
The Board of Audit report says the central government needs to find a solution for the shortage of civil engineers.

. Misuse of disaster 'reconstruction' money runs rampant .
Japan Times


February 8, 2013

Wiped out city waits for Tokyo to wake up
Rikuzentakata mayor wonders when 'power games' will stop
. Rikuzentakata .


Further German Reference

Botschaft von Japan

Die Hilfe für die von Erdbeben und Tsunami betroffene Region im Nordosten Japans sowie der Stand des Wiederaufbaus
(Statistische Angaben)
Tote: 15.844
Vermisste: 3.450
Verletzte: 5.891

source : www.de.emb-japan.go.jp

Materialsammlung zum schweren Erdbeben im Osten Japans und zum Wiederaufbau
source : www.de.emb-japan.go.jp
Botschaft von Japan in Deutschland

DasErste Mediathek
Geschichte im Ersten: Kinder des Tsunami
source : mediathek.daserste.de

Knapp ein Jahr nach dem Supergau
in Fukushima reisen japanische Studenten nach Deutschland, um sich über den Atomausstieg und erneuerbare Energien zu informieren.
source : www.ndr.de/fernsehen

Die Helden von Taro
Japan ein Jahr nach dem Tsunami - WELTWEIT-Reportage
Taro ist ein Fischerdorf. Der Tsunami hat es in wenigen Sekunden im vergangenen Jahr zerstört. Ein Jahr danach ist das Leid in den zerstörten Gebieten nicht vorbei.
Hitoshi Kuroda ist hier der einzige Arzt für über 4000 Menschen. Mit einer alten Frau auf dem Rücken rannte er vor der Welle davon. Danach versorgte er die Kranken und Verwundeten und musste über 100 Totenscheine ausstellen. Bis heute kümmert er sich um die Menschen und versucht, ihnen für den Wiederaufbau Mut zu machen.
source : programm.daserste.de

ARD - Japan - ein Jahr nach der Katastrophe
source : mediathek.daserste.de

Bei "Volle Kanne" berichtet
Johannes Hano, ZDF-Auslandskorrespondent, über seine dramatischen Erlebnisse vor einem Jahr in Japan, als Tsunami und Erdbeben die Fukushima-Katastrophe auslösten.
source : /www.zdf.de

"In Japan gibt es viele Formen der Unterdrückung von Äußerungen in Bezug auf die Gefahren der Atomenergie."
Exklusiv-Interview mit Japans Ex-Premier Naoto Kan
source : www.zdf.de/ZDFmediathek

Japan am Scheideweg

Das Erdbeben, der Tsunami und die Atomkatastrophe von Fukushima haben die einst stolze Industrienation Japan im Kern erschüttert. Auch ein Jahr danach sind die Schäden nur oberflächlich behoben.
source : www.3sat.de/mediathek

Reaktorunfall: Regierung versagte
Eine Untersuchung belegt das Elite-Versagen. mehr…
Zum Glück blieben die Strahlenfolgen gering. mehr…
Die Bilanz nach einem Jahr fällt gemischt aus. mehr…
Die Chronologie der Katastrophe im Überblick. mehr…
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Natur- und Völkerkunde Ostasiens
(kurz: Ostasiengesellschaft = OAG)
source : www.oag.jp/news/nachrichten

Deutsche Schule in Japan
Das fliehende Klassenzimmer
Spiegel Online
Die Deutsche Schule Tokyo Yokohama ist modern, luxuriös, teuer - und sie kämpft mit finanziellen Problemen. Seit dem Atomdesaster in Fukushima bleiben die deutschen Schüler weg. Wenn sie sich nicht neu erfindet, ist eine der ältesten Auslandsschulen Asiens bald bankrott.
source : www.spiegel.de

Tohoku students to play 'drums for rebuilding' in Germany

ISHINOMAKI, Miyagi Prefecture—
After their percussion instruments were destroyed in last year’s tsunami, students at Ogatsu Junior High School here replaced them using old tires.


DTRG - Vereinigung für internationale Katastrophenhilfe e.V.

Einsatz in Japan - Videos
Fahrt in das Dekontaminationsgebiet - Andreas Teichert
source : www.dtrg.org/blo
source : www.dtrg.org


. . Bulletins from NHK WORLD . .
. . Japan Times - JT . .



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  1. Quake-caused subsidence spreads

    The Environment Ministry says nearly 6,000 square kilometers of land across Japan have subsided by more than 2 centimeters in the last fiscal year.
    The figure is about 1,000 times greater than in the previous fiscal year that ended March last year, and the largest-ever since records began in 1978.

    Municipal organizations that extract underground water assess land subsidence on a regular basis.
    About half the 30 tested areas in 20 prefectures were recorded as sinking more than 2 centimeters. This level is judged to have a potential impact on buildings' stability.

    The ministry says Kesennuma in Miyagi Prefecture sank deepest by 73.8 centimeters, followed by Ichikawa in Chiba by 30.9 centimeters. Tsukuba in Ibaraki sank by 15.2 centimeters.
    Seven areas subsided by more than 10 centimeters. These lie in Tohoku, and in the Kanto region that includes Tokyo.

    The ministry officials say the subsidence is attributable to last year's March 11th earthquake. They have expressed concerns over the spread of subsidence and further damage to buildings.

    Dec. 17, 2012

  2. Waste undermines reconstruction

    Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has declared that he will scrap the ¥19 trillion cap the Democratic Party of Japan government had set on the reconstruction budget for areas devastated by the 3/11 triple disasters. He is intent on boosting the image of his administration and the Liberal Democratic Party before the Upper House election next summer

    But his policy is fraught with problems. Mr. Abe appears to think that simply boosting the size of the budget will ensure the reconstruction's smooth progress, but the record so far suggests otherwise.

    For fiscal 2011, ¥14.92 trillion was allocated for use in reconstruction-related projects. But ¥5.87 trillion or 39.4 percent was not used by the end of fiscal 2011 on March 31.

    The DPJ government at the time decided to carry ¥4.76 trillion or 32 percent over to fiscal 2012, and not use the remaining ¥1.10 trillion or 7.4 percent. It is extremely regrettable that about 40 percent of a budget intended to help municipalities and residents severely hit by the disasters was left unused.

    This was largely the result of the central government's failure to set up a system to smoothly process local government requests for budget money to fund community-resuscitation projects, and to disburse requested money in a timely manner.

    Many disaster-hit areas were also unable to use all the money that they had received from the reconstruction budget due to attached conditions or a lack of resources, such as construction workers and engineering officials to supervise work, and were forced to carry forward the unused money to the next account.

    Reacting coolly to Mr. Abe's declaration, an official of a municipality in Tohoku said, "We have not yet reached a stage in which an increased budget will instantly translate into real reconstruction." One can't help wondering whether Mr. Abe really understands the situation at the local level.

    Last year it was found that the reconstruction budget was also used to fund numerous projects outside the disaster areas. Despite criticism, ministry requests for the fiscal 2013 reconstruction budget still include dubious projects because the LDP demanded that money from the budget also be used for disaster-prevention projects outside the disaster areas.

    It also recently surfaced that the work to clean up areas contaminated with radioactive substances from Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is being carried out in a slipshod manner that ignores rules to prevent secondary contamination. It appears that large construction companies have been favored over small firms with better technology.

    One wonders whether the government has the will or the ability to properly manage the cleanup work.

    Out of the ¥19 trillion budget cap, the government has already earmarked about ¥17 trillion for reconstruction purposes. The Abe administration's economic stimulus package also includes ¥1.6 trillion for the same purposes. Income, corporate and resident tax raises will cover ¥10.5 trillion of the ¥19 trillion.

    If the Abe administration scraps the cap, it may have to rely on bond issuance. This may weaken trust of state finances and lead to a rise in long-term interest rates.

    People and opposition parties must scrutinize the reconstruction budget for fiscal 2013.