Japan: One Year After the Disaster

Following the 2011 Tsunami and Earthquake disaster in Japan, how have co-operatives helped in the recovery?

Spirit of co-operation is needed for a better society

Takeshi Yamawaki
For three years, I lived and worked as a reporter in Ishinomaki in Miyagi Prefecture, which suffered massive damage in the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. As I visited the disaster-afflicted areas, I learned that the spirit of cooperation was alive in the hearts of the victims. 

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Co-operative insurers respond to the Japan earthquake

Takao Goto from the Japan Cooperative Insurance Association addresses delegates at the ICMIF insurance conference
The earthquake and tsunami which hit Japan last March were the worst natural disaster Japanese cooperative insurers had had to deal with in.

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Tsunami efforts show co-operative strength

F Zengyoren fisheries co-op shows the damage to boats in Onahama, on Japan’s east coast
On the anniversary of the greatest natural disaster in Japan’s modern history, Dame Pauline Green, president of the International Co-operative Alliance, paid tribute to the stoicism and resilience of the Japanese people in the face of the earthquake and tsunami that ravaged the country'

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Dealing with the Japan nuclear power plant accident

The then JA-Zenchu Chairman Mamoru Moteki and JA Group representatives presenting a letter of protest to TEPCO President Masataka Shimizu (left)
The enormous impact of the accident at the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO)'s Fukushima Dai-Ichi Nuclear Power Plant prolonged evacuation of farmers and other residents, suspended shipments of local agricultural and livestock products, sharp drops in prices and stagnating consumption, not

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Volunteers come together to get co-operatives back on track

Members of Women's group in JA Shin-Fukushima cooking rice balls for 2000 persons (March 14, Fukushima City)
As we gave serious thought what we could do for the regions hit by the disaster, we recruited volunteers from the JA Group to undertake recovery efforts and organized JA Group Assistance Teams for dispatch to afflicted areas in accordance with their particular needs.

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Seeking immediate support from the government in the disaster aftermath

The then JA-Zenchu President Moteki (left) presents a list of requested earthquake recovery measures to Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Michihiko Kana (March 24, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Kasumigaseki, Tokyo)
The JA Group set up a Central Headquarters for Emergency Disaster Countermeasures shortly after the disaster struck to provide physical and material support and donations, to deal with the repercussions of the nuclear power plant accident, and to make requests to the government. We are continuing

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Working together helps rebuild lives and farms

JA Miyazaki Prefectural Union Chairperson Toshiyuki Morinaga (far right) and other JA chairpersons from Miyazaki Prefecture engaged in restoration efforts to return the favor for assistance provided during Miyazaki's foot-and-mouth epidemic (July 7)
Following the Great East Japan Earthquake & Tsunami, JA Group summoned up its full organizational capabilities to help people in the afflicted areas rebuild their livelihoods, to restore/recover agricultural infrastructure, and to get JAs' operating bases back into business as soon as pos

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By power of co-operation we can recover from Japan's disaster

Streets of Rikuzentakala City (Iwate Prefecture) erased without a trace by the tsunami
It has been one year since the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake & Tsunami, a disaster of unprecedented proportions that claimed many precious lives and at the same time robbed survivors of livelihoods built up from previous generations.

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Anthony Murray About Anthony Murray

Anthony has been working as a co-operative journalist since 2002. As editor, he ensures the overall style and content is consistently relevant for the movement. He also keeps in touch with the global movement as a member of the International Co-operative Alliance's Communications Committee.