Program Background

Minamisoma City in Fukushima Prefecture suffered (on March 11, 2011) complex disaster from the Great East Japan Earthquake; massive earthquake, subsequent tsunami, and radioactive contamination due to a nuclear power plant accident that occurred. The occupancy rate of temporary houses in Minamisoma City declined to approximately 11 percent because many people moved to the public housing complex for disaster recovery and other dwellings. On the other hand, the isolation problem among residents living in such public housing has continued to grow more serious and cases of so-called “solitary death (dying alone unattended)” also started to occur at the Minamisoma public housing for disaster recovery.

Supporting the operation of “Ohmachi Kira-Kira Salon”

Meeting of the management committee members of “Ohmachi Kira-Kira Salon” and JVC local staff (March 2017).

“Ohmachi Kira-Kira Salon” (Kira-Kira means “shining” in Japanese) was set up in January 2016 in the residents’ meeting room of the Ohmachi public housing complex for disaster victims (149 households), which was built by the municipal government in order to promote exchanges among the residents. JVC continued to assist the salon’s activities since its establishment providing advice and support throughout the fiscal year 2017.

[Outcome]

The “Salon Management Committee” composed of residents was organized to operate salon activities on their own by planning events among committee members by rotation.

Establishing a collaborative system among organizations supporting the public housing complex for disaster recovery

Salon activities in Kitahara housing complex for disaster recovery.

The public housing complex for disaster recovery is an apartmenthouse complex constructed by the Fukushima prefectural government to accommodate those affected by the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant accident. In Minamisoma city, there are such public housing complexes in five locations. At the Kitahara housing complex (224 households), 6 cases of solitary death occurred in fiscal year 2017 alone. Aiming to improve the situation, JVC discussed with local NPOs involved about support activities and social welfare councils of relevant municipal governments and unanimously agreed to hold periodic information exchange meetings.

[Outcome]

Information exchange meetings are now held on a monthly basis enabling close cooperation among the three parties. In fiscal year 2018, our goal is to set up a residents’ association in the Kitahara housing complex to facilitate neighborhood community development. Although people started to move in here in September 2016, a residents’ association is yet to be established in order to promote an active exchange and communication among the residents. JVC, applying the experiences of having formed a residents’ association in a public housing complex for disaster evacuees in Kesennuma city, intends to set up a cooperative system with a local NPO working in the Kitahara housing complex and encourage the residents to organize a resident association of their own.

[Source: JVC Annual Report 2017]

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