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Pace of reconstruction slow 2 years after tsunami

35 Comments
By Toshifumi Kitamura

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35 Comments
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Gotta ask... where did all that reconstruction money go? (Rhetorical question) Meanwhile, the bigwigs in parliament and TEPCO are living it up. Not one negligence indictment since the disaster.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

This is NOT news, it is general knowledge !

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Amen Magnet! Where is the money?

here an overview of the donations:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humanitarian_response_to_the_2011_T%C5%8Dhoku_earthquake_and_tsunami

As of March 2012, donations to areas affected by the disaster totaled ¥520 billion

520 billion!!!! I highly doubt it all went to Tohoku cough whale hunt cough elections cough

4 ( +7 / -3 )

I feel very sorry for the people who are still suffering. Especially with Fukushima, TEPCO, and the government I hope people who have places that they can inevitably leave to do so, as I fear they are wasting their time waiting for assistance if they haven't gotten any yet.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Donations didn't go to the government. They went to the likes of the Red Cross (sigh) and other, more effective NPOs.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

@heda: Not all, but A LOT!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

What do you mean by that?

A LOT what?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

This is a disgrace. Shows the contempt of Japanese politicians and bureaucrats for the people who vote them in and pay their wages.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Is it such a disgrace or is it largely to be expected? Some communities, largely based on their geographical features, have an easier time re-zoning and pushing ahead. A neighboring town may have no high ground for kilometers, and while some people don't want to leave, it just doesn't make sense to invest in rebuilding schools, hospitals, or anything in such vulnerable locations. Clearing mountain tops to create new high ground takes time. Rebuilding coastal railways may never happen in some areas, but Bus to Rail services (BART - I don't know what it stands for) are in place to fill the gap.

The people who seem to do the most bitching and moaning about fat cats and TEPCO are the people who haven't seen the range of difficulties, the heart-breaking devestation, the impressive progress, the frustrating lack of progress, for themselves. I would invite you all to spend some of your tourism money in the north of Japan this year.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

It's a sad indictment on the contributors from this board when Taj gets voted down for that.

The second paragraph is one of the best things ever written on here.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

A story some time back revealed the Red Cross Japan giving households ¥230,000 worth of electrical gadget packages including ESSENTIAL 30" flat screen TVs. I wrote to the Red Cross about this and they defended this saying the TVs were in fact essential for old people. I didn't didn't bother writing back.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I have strong opinions about the Red Cross. However their donation of TVs and electrical goods isn't one I'm going to criticize them for. If you saw the conditions that the people live in, you wouldn't begrudge them a bit of comfort.

However, none of that justifies the way they do business. The fact that other NPOs have a very low opinion of them speaks volumes.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Come on. 2 years later and people still living in school gyms and other communal "accomodation". yes, many challenges but still this should be much better run and much more humane in a civilised society like Japan.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Come on. 2 years later and people still living in school gyms and other communal "accomodation". yes, many challenges but still this should be much better run and much more humane in a civilised society like Japan.

http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/last-evacuation-center-in-tohoku-closes

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Heda I stand corrected.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Is it such a disgrace or is it largely to be expected? Some communities, largely based on their geographical features, have an easier time re-zoning and pushing ahead. A neighboring town may have no high ground for kilometers, and while some people don't want to leave, it just doesn't make sense to invest in rebuilding schools, hospitals, or anything in such vulnerable locations. Clearing mountain tops to create new high ground takes time. Rebuilding coastal railways may never happen in some areas, but Bus to Rail services (BART - I don't know what it stands for) are in place to fill the gap.

The people who seem to do the most bitching and moaning about fat cats and TEPCO are the people who haven't seen the range of difficulties, the heart-breaking devestation, the impressive progress, the frustrating lack of progress, for themselves. I would invite you all to spend some of your tourism money in the north of Japan this year.

Well said all round.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

why does it even matter if its slow or fast...who's gonna relocate there anytime soon...soon meaning 10yrs at least?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why are people slagging off the government on this. The main infrastructure was back up and running in record time. It was incredibly impressive to see a region so devastated be rebuilt so quickly. Now the local community and businesses need to rebuild, but their issue is where. On the same land where they lost everything? Or invest in new land somewhere else? It is heart wrenching to watch, but the wounds will need to heal as well.

If you want to know where some of the money has gone, take a look at the Red Cross main building - doesn't look like they use ALL the money for good purposes!!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

When I got involved in the initial relief effort I was asked to collect money or donations for 150kgs of rice. The group I was working with we're taking a mobile restaurant up to 3 locations to cook everyone a hot meal.

I sent an email home to the Uk, and it spread like wildfire. People were giving 10,000 and 20,000 yen. I couldn't thank them enough and their response was that they wanted to donate but felt that if they gave to the red cross their money would disappear into a black hole never to be seen again. I collected enough for 300 kgs of rice in 48 hours! It was amazing!

So I literally calculated who had given what, and divvied it up between the bags of rice I bought. I put every single persons name and location on the bags I bought on their behalf, and took pictures of them being loaded into the trucks in Tokyo.

At the other end someone filmed the bags being opened and poured into the cookers, and the people lines up to have their meal.

At the end, the names were all put on a message board, and people up there wrote messages back underneath. A picture of the board was taken and translated for everyone who had donated. They were all thrilled to see directly what they had contributed to. It was very moving.

People just don't trust big organizations anymore. And rightly so, it would seem.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Fukushima must care for itself.. gov't want people to hurry up and die. It is good idea to make city a domed city.. solar powered.. also grow all food in greenhouse with filtered water.. and no GMO seeds.. all cars must be electric.. the carpetbaggers.. pirates will try to take advantage of your weaknesses and exploit your fears.. now is time for freedom.. you can make more money from a TV show that shows to the world radiation fear and dangers and poisoning of the land.. you will not have this opportunity for freedom again.. it is like when Fukushima went from poor mining town to Spa Hawaiians.. you do not give Hawaii any respect.. just steal our culture and now we share the Aloha to heal yours.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

It is pretty darned obvious that NO, one should not rebuild on land that was tsunami devastated. Seems like a no brainer. Build in safe areas, tsunami free. And, I believe there are still some people living in centers. What could their state of mind be? Just waiting for the Tepco bundle of loot? I do not know. It is very sad.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

It didn't take two years for money to be misspent, did it? New carpets in Kasumigaseki government offices, refurbishments for the whaling fleet - hell, a nice bundle even went to publicising the SkyTree.

But the poor people whose lives were decimated two full years ago are still waiting for the money which was given to help them to find its way to actually helping them.

It's absolutely sickening, and yet all so damn predictable.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Well, what's "slow", after town after town is wiped out by a mega-tsunami?? Kobe wasn't in such great shape two years later...in Tohoku the devastation is so much greater. It's almost unimaginable, the degree of destruction. How about giving everybody a break?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Of course there are many questions regarding where all the money went but theres also another thing we need to appreciate. The scale of this devastation is incomprehensible. Its not secret at how hard the Japanese work, but having seen this areas first hand myself, i'm still not surprised its taking so long. Towns have literally been wiped off the map…its not something that can be replaces in just 2 years.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I hope the reconstruction proceeds at a fast pace in the future for the normalization of the community.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Kimokekahuna HawaiiMar. 06, 2013 - 08:35PM JST

Fukushima must care for itself.. gov't want people to hurry up and die.

False, the government is interested in helping people get back on their feet

It is good idea to make city a domed city..

Makes no sense, clarify.

solar powered..

Japan has neither the money, nor, ironically, the electrical power to do that.

also grow all food in greenhouse with filtered water..

There is neither the space nor money for that. Additionally, most villages devastated by the tsunami are fishing dependent rather than farming. On top of that, the farmers in the areas affected have little knowledge of greenhouse farming and will have lower production as a result.

and no GMO seeds..

Define GMO, since 99.9% of foods we eat have been created by human intervention, if not directly at least through breeding programs.

all cars must be electric..

Makes no sense to use electric cars if they have lower fuel cycle carbon efficiency, which they do as a result of the 90% fossil fuels electrical energy production.

the carpetbaggers.. pirates will try to take advantage of your weaknesses and exploit your fears..

Explain, as you are getting off topic

now is time for freedom.. you can make more money from a TV show that shows to the world radiation fear ..

You are getting very off topic!

you will not have this opportunity for freedom again.. it is like when Fukushima went from poor mining town to Spa Hawaiians.. you do not give Hawaii any respect.. just steal our culture and now we share the Aloha to heal yours.

Topicality annihilated! Not to mention that this makes neither grammatical nor logical sense.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

There are lots of foreign and domestic NGO's out there helping local groups every single day. That Japanese don't do more is appalling. Where did that much lauded spirit of helping one another go?

Also why aren't the children and families allowed to move out of the zones?

There was and remains a lot more that can be done but government ignore it and only the people that still live there are willing. C'mon Japan, help out.

I'd like to know where the money we sent from Canada to Japan went as well. There were a lot of donors. I'm sure others would be interested to know

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

For anyone interested in donating to a cause that gives direct aid to people still struggling to get their lives back to normal, in April a group of 10 (unfit!) Brits are cycling 330km from Tokyo to Minamisoma over 3 days to raise funds for the Save Minamisoma Project, which distributes food and water to residents every fortnight.

All donations received are used to buy supplies, nothing is lost through 'admin charges'.

Our donation page is here - http://www.donationto.com/TokyoBrits-Save-Minamisoma-Project - while you can find out about the Save Minamisoma Project here - www.saveminamisoma.org.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Save Minami Soma is an outstanding organisation and cause.

And if the poster above thinks that the Japanese don't do enough then perhaps he may want to join on one of the fortnightly trips that they organise and be a part of the team. http://www.saveminamisoma.org/

And there are countless Japanese organisations still involved and have been since day one.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Sorry, I haven't said anywhere that I don't think that the Japanese aren't doing enough. This is just a group of British expats trying to help people in need.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Also why aren't the children and families allowed to move out of the zones?

?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Sorry Dave, that part of my post was aimed at the previous poster. Certainly not aimed at you as I have nothing but praise for what you're doing.

I know SMP very well and some of the cyclists and it's a tremendously worthwhile cause.

Good luck Dave on the bike ride. I've driven up there a lot in a truck - can't imagine what it's like to do it on a bike. Have also sponsored you all as well!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Sorry Heda, had been out on a training ride already this morning, brain wasn't engaged! Thanks very much for your support!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@chibachick

At the end, the names were all put on a message board, and people up there wrote messages back underneath. A picture of the board was taken and translated for everyone who had donated. They were all thrilled to see directly what they had contributed to. It was very moving.

It looks like a fantastic effort. You are so right about people's reaction when they see HOW their contribution directly affects the recipients of aid. It also spurs more donations too. Infectious, and if only we could do more of it!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That's right Miso. The feedback I got was that people really wanted to help but didn't want their money to disappear into a black hole. I was very humbled by people's trust in me. Well, technically my Mother - it was her bank account they sent the money to! And as word spread, people we didn't even know we're sending money. It was quite a responsibility! So I set up a spreadsheet to keep track of it all, and set up a small website so they could see what was going on. Apparently the meal they supplied was tonjiru - a local specialty. For some it was the first hot meal they'd had in over a week. I couldn't go up there myself as I had no one to watch the kids so I coordinated efforts from Tokyo.

I will never forget going to Jusco to buy the rice! I got in the elevator to the car park with 150kgs spread over 2 carts. A woman got in with me, looked at the carts, looked at me, and said "You gaijin really love Japanese rice, huh?!" I laughed and explained what I was doing. She burst into tears. Turns out she had arrived a few days ago from a Fukushima evacuation centre. She was bowing and crying and saying arigatou arigatou over and over. She set me off. When the doors opened the people waiting were confronted with the sight of a mountain of rice and two bawling women!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

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