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02/14/2012

Restoration of livelihood –A step to the future

After the quake disaster, Ishinomaki City had been in a situation where all the business was out of operation, as workers specializing in removing rubble throughout the town and collecting garbage suffered a great deal of damage too.

JEN conducted an investigation in order to make the affected associations contribute to removal of debris and collection of garbage, by providing trucks.

As a result of the investigation, the most severely affected was a manager of a 120-year-old recycling firm, whose house with the office was located near the mouth of former Kitakami River.

At the time of the earthquake, 10 out of 33 employees died in the disaster.

In the depths of despair, he did not have any drive to restart working. He had various difficulties: “The reality was that even if I wanted to reconstruct the company, actually there was nothing, no office, no work. However hard I tried it was impossible to rebuild the firm. Is there no choice but to give up? But.”

In such a situation, when JEN talked about renting dump trucks and trucks for collecting garbage for free, he did not believe at first, but saw a little light of hope: “If we have cars, we can work. We have to resume business. We can only move forward step by step, but as I survived, I was determined to work hard for the employees too.”

Rented trucks for garbage collection
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In addition, as cars are available, not only he can resume business operations, an effect of promoting employment has been created, and 5 of former employees have come back and are working. He expressed his gratitude: “As from 70 to 80 percent of the customers have been affected, we do not have as much work as before, but we have work to collect scrap iron and retail too. This is also thanks to the cars that can be used for work.”

Furthermore, they participated in an activity contributing to society, such as repairing wharfs gouged out by the tsunami with the cars.

Dump trucks repairing a wharf
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Recently, they have been repairing a half of an affected plant in Kawaguchi Town, while operating in another half. He also said that he wanted to grapple with trade, which he thought of as a part of the business. “From now on, we have to tread a thorny path, but first of all, from minus to zero step by step, we are planning to move forward steadily.”

A plant in Kawaguchi Town
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Although he had some hard time in Minato Elementary School, he had many pleasant times too.

He said “We cooked meals together, and were invited for a trip from Yamagata too, so we could do worse than having friendship of the Japanese. I am grateful. Through encounters and experiences with people from many different countries, not only Japan, bonds have no borders.

He smiled cheerfully, “Although we are not sure in what way we can, we would like to repay favor to people who supported us.”

The manager of the recycling firm and his wife
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This project is carried out thanks to all the supporters and in cooperation with Japan Platform. To assist as many people’s support of themselves as possible, Jen would like to carry out supports that will be nourishment for hopes. Step by step, to a hopeful future.

February 14, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |