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 our efforts to employ the power of cooperation to maximum effect in bringing restoration and recovery to the devastated areas.
On the evening of March 11, 2011, only hours after the earthquake, eight national organizations in JA Group set up a Central Headquarters for Emergency Disaster Countermeasures to the Tohoku-Pacific Earthquake. To enable swift relief efforts for the disaster-hit areas, a start was made on (1) assessing the damage suffered by agriculture and JAs, (2) developing proposals/requests for disaster countermeasures, (3) collaborating with relevant organizations, and (4) offering physical support.
The Central Headquarters decided support sharing among neighboring prefectures to offer prioritized assistance to the three prefectures hit particularly hard Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima and emergency dispatches of personnel were implemented in coordination with the government and JA prefectural headquarters.
To bolster efforts toward recovery, the Central Headquarters for Emergency Disaster Countermeasures was abolished on April 7 and replaced by a new JA Group Central Headquarters for Great East Japan Earthquake & Tsunami Recovery & Reconstruction Measures organized mainly by preSidents of prefectural unions from the afflicted prefectures. This new organization continues to (1) consider the legislation, budgets, tax schemes, and other measures necessary for the post-disaster recovery and rebuilding of the agricultural industry, rural villages and JAs and lobby the government and the Diet, and (2) to develop and implement measures to deal with requests for compensation and damages pertaining to the TEPCO nuclear power plant accident and to assist disaster-stricken JAs to improve the soundness of their management, businesses, and organizations.
Thus far we have submitted to the government a first set of requests on April 14 and a second set on June 9. The first set of requests presented the fundamental thinking underlying the requests and called for a buyback program for irreclaimable
farmland, tax exemptions and other exceptions to the tax system as recovery measures. At the same time, we asked the government to deal with the TEPCO nuclear power plant accident and implement specific assistance measures toward recovery.
The second set of requests included more specific versions of the first set as well as additional items, including accelerating recovery efforts and eliminating the problem of overlapping debt as well as alleviating livelihood and management issues standing in the way of farmers victimized by the disaster who were seeking to resume farming. JA-Zenchu and the National Agricultural Policy Federation convened a meeting on Great East Japan Earthquake & Tsunami Countermeasures and Basic Agricultural Policy Formulation when more than 1,000 participants in Tokyo on July 29. This meeting called for the slow progress in earthquake recovery measures to be accelerated, for the TEPCO nuclear power plant accident to be resolved as soon as possible, and for the restoration of public trust in beef safety through the blanket testing of beef cattle, submitting these requests to the government and both ruling and opposition parties.