Tohoku Projects (2011 ～ 2019)
Following the great disaster of March 2011, Global Ministries has supported the following projects in northeastern Japan.
Emmaus Center (Sendai, Tohoku Kyoku-Kyodan)
Disaster relief for tsunami survivors for first several years after disaster. This includes equipment for mud removal, food and lodging for volunteers. Once survivors moved into temporary shelters and then into government sponsored housing, the focus has been on accompaniment and community building. Disaster Center activities to end in March 2019.
Izumi (Sendai, Tohoku Kyoku-Kyodan)
Started in 2013 to aid families who live with the fear of radiation. Izumi provides free thyroid testing every month to 50 to 100 families so that they can keep their own records. They also provide counseling services (medical, legal, spiritual) as well as opportunities for peer support. Fresh-air camps have allowed families to travel to Okinawa and Hokkaido to spend time away from areas with high radiation.
EIWAN (Empowerment of Immigrant Women Affiliated Network, Fukushima, RAIK)
Supports immigrant women living in Fukushima. They run Japanese language classes for mothers and after school tutoring for children in three locations. They aim to support these foreign women and their children, to bring together bicultural families, and to make them a visible presence in the wider society in order to build and nurture a community that celebrates diversity.
Aizu Radiation Information Center (Aizu, citizen’s movement)
Following the nuclear disaster, local residents in Aizu came together with a common purpose to protect the lives of children in Fukushima. Their base of operations is a former kindergarten building owned by the Wakamatsu Sakaemachi Church (Kyodan). They aim to 1) gather and disseminate information, 2) build a support network for local people, and 3) advocate for those who continue to suffer under oppressive conditions in Fukushima.
The Fukushima Children Evacuation Lawsuit (Fukushima, citizen’s movement)
1400 parents and their children have sued Fukushima Prefecture for the right for children to study in a safe environment. The Japanese government claims that it is now safe to study in public schools in Fukushima, despite the fact that local citizen’s groups have pointed out areas with high radiation in and around the schools. Families have moved away because they do not feel safe sending their children to public schools in the prefecture. Citizen’s movements such as this have depended on financial donations to allow families to return to Fukushima to attend the hearings.