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2020 Olympic torches to be made of recycled aluminum from Fukushima temporary housing

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This file photo shows the Tokyo Summer Olympics torch relay held in September 1964.
 
Olympics: 2020 torches to be made of recycled aluminum from Fukushima
Jan 1, 2019
TOKYO (Kyodo) — Recycled aluminum from temporary housing in Fukushima Prefecture, which was devastated by the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, is planned to be used in the crafting of Tokyo 2020 Olympic torches, sources close to the matter revealed Monday.
The plan is likely to attract interest in Japan and abroad as being another symbolic effort to uphold one of the main themes of the July 24-Aug. 9 Summer Games as a “reconstruction Olympics.”
More than 10,000 pieces of aluminum are expected to be needed for the torches, used by runners in the nationwide relay beginning after the Olympic flame arrives in Japan from Greece on March 20, 2020.
According to sources, organizers will need to coordinate with local governments in the future in order to determine which metals can be procured from temporary housing that is no longer in use.
Tokyo 2020 organizers are also collecting metals from used electronics handed in by consumers nationwide to forge the approximately 5,000 medals to be awarded at the Games, and said in October they had reached their target for bronzes.
The “flame of reconstruction” will first be displayed in Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima prefectures, the three most affected by the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami that devastated a large part of northeastern Japan.
The Japan leg of the relay will begin in Fukushima on March 26, and will travel across all 47 prefectures of the country over a period of 121 days before arriving in Tokyo for the opening ceremony.
The design of the torch, which has already been approved by the International Olympic Committee, will be announced next spring.
 
 
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January 3, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | 1 Comment

Nearly 60,000 evacuees, 5,623 in temporary housing 7.5 yrs after Tohoku disaster

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A tsunami triggered by the March 11, 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake is seen surging inland in Natori, Miyagi Prefecture, in the country’s northeast
 
September 11, 2018
Seven and a half years have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake hit Japan on March 11, 2011, but nearly 60,000 people still remain in evacuation and more than 5,600 people are living in temporary housing because of the quake, devastating tsunami and the triple core meltdowns at the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO)’s Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Plant.
According to the government’s Reconstruction Agency, about 58,000 people still remained in evacuation as of August, although their number declined by about 15,000 during the past six months. As many as 5,623 people were living in prefabricated houses in the northeastern Japan prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima, as of the end of August.
The construction of public housing for victims of the disaster is 96.5 percent complete, with 29,124 units built out of a planned 30,178 in those three prefectures as of late July. The achievement rate is 91.1 percent for Iwate and 98.4 percent for Miyagi. In Fukushima, the figure is 96.3 percent for evacuees from the nuclear accident.
Around the TEPCO nuclear power plant that spewed out a large amount of highly radioactive materials from the melted cores, 11 municipalities received evacuation orders from the central government. Although the orders were lifted in 70 percent of those areas by the spring of 2017, a total of seven cities, towns and villages still have so-called “difficult-to-return” zones with high radioactivity. Even in areas where evacuation orders have been lifted, the ratio of actual to registered residents is about 20 percent.
The central government intends to phase out temporary housing in Iwate and Miyagi by fiscal 2020 when its designated reconstruction and revitalization period will end, but the timing will be delayed to fiscal 2021 or later in Fukushima. The preparation of land plots where people affected by the disaster can build their own houses is 90.6 percent complete in the three prefectures.
 
Okawa Elementary School, which was flooded by the tsunami caused by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, is seen in this Oct. 15, 2016 file photo taken from a Mainichi Shimbun helicopter.
 
As of Sept. 10, the number of those killed by the 2011 disaster stood at 15,896, and 2,536 people remained missing. The Reconstruction Agency says 3,676 people in 10 prefectures, including Tokyo, had died of causes related to the disaster, as of the end of March this year.
(Japanese original by Nobuyuki Hyakutake, Ishinomaki Local Bureau, and Toshiki Miyazaki, Fukushima Bureau)

September 17, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

Free temporary housing for Fukushima evacuees to mostly end in March ’20

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This file photo taken in April 2017 shows temporary housing in the city of Nihonmatsu in central Fukushima Prefecture in northeastern Japan for evacuees from the 2011 disaster at the Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant
August 28, 2018
FUKUSHIMA — The government of Fukushima Prefecture in northeastern Japan has announced it will terminate in March 2020 the provision of free temporary housing to most of the evacuees from areas in four towns and villages rendered difficult to live in due to fallout from the 2011 triple core meltdowns at the Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant.
It was the first time to set a deadline to end housing support for evacuees from those “difficult to return” areas. The new measure, announced on Aug. 27, will stop the provision of all rent-free temporary housing from dwellings in the towns of Okuma and Futaba where the nuclear plant is located.
The termination of the support program will affect a total of 3,298 households who had to move out of difficult to return areas in the villages of Katsurao and Iitate, as well as the towns of Tomioka and Namie. The measure will cover both temporary prefabricated housing as well as private rental accommodation paid for by the prefecture.
The prefectural government explained that the financial support is being phased out as it is now possible for those residents to find stable homes on their own, among other reasons. Meanwhile, the prefecture will conduct an opinion poll on some 1,661 households from Okuma and Futaba to determine whether to continue to offer free housing for them after March 2020.
The free temporary housing service will end in March next year for evacuees of 2,389 households from five municipalities including the village of Kawauchi and the town of Kawamata, where evacuation orders have been lifted, but the service can be extended for another year for people with special circumstances.
Evacuation orders prompted by the 2011 nuclear disaster targeted 11 municipalities although they were eventually lifted for nine cities, towns and villages by April 2017 except Futaba and Okuma as well as difficult to return zones in some of the municipalities.

September 3, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , | Leave a comment

Free temporary housing for Fukushima evacuees to mostly end in March ’20

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This file photo taken in April 2017 shows temporary housing in the city of Nihonmatsu in central Fukushima Prefecture in northeastern Japan for evacuees from the 2011 disaster at the Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant.
 
August 28, 2018
FUKUSHIMA — The government of Fukushima Prefecture in northeastern Japan has announced it will terminate in March 2020 the provision of free temporary housing to most of the evacuees from areas in four towns and villages rendered difficult to live in due to fallout from the 2011 triple core meltdowns at the Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant.
It was the first time to set a deadline to end housing support for evacuees from those “difficult to return” areas. The new measure, announced on Aug. 27, will stop the provision of all rent-free temporary housing from dwellings in the towns of Okuma and Futaba where the nuclear plant is located.
The termination of the support program will affect a total of 3,298 households who had to move out of difficult to return areas in the villages of Katsurao and Iitate, as well as the towns of Tomioka and Namie. The measure will cover both temporary prefabricated housing as well as private rental accommodation paid for by the prefecture.
The prefectural government explained that the financial support is being phased out as it is now possible for those residents to find stable homes on their own, among other reasons. Meanwhile, the prefecture will conduct an opinion poll on some 1,661 households from Okuma and Futaba to determine whether to continue to offer free housing for them after March 2020.
The free temporary housing service will end in March next year for evacuees of 2,389 households from five municipalities including the village of Kawauchi and the town of Kawamata, where evacuation orders have been lifted, but the service can be extended for another year for people with special circumstances.
Evacuation orders prompted by the 2011 nuclear disaster targeted 11 municipalities although they were eventually lifted for nine cities, towns and villages by April 2017 except Futaba and Okuma as well as difficult to return zones in some of the municipalities.
(Japanese original by Hideyuki Kakinuma, Fukushima Bureau)

August 28, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , | Leave a comment

12,000 evacuee households from Fukushima fret over benefit loss

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Evacuees from the Fukushima nuclear disaster deliver a petition to politicians in Tokyo on Oct. 26 calling for the extension of free housing benefits.

Anxiety is spreading among many of the 12,000 or so households evacuated after the Fukushima nuclear disaster five years ago as their free housing benefits will end next March.

In late October, about 180 people, who have been receiving free housing after leaving their homes in Fukushima Prefecture, delivered a 200,000-signature petition to politicians in Tokyo asking for the accommodation allowance to be extended.

At the Upper House Members’ Office Building, they voiced their concerns, one after another.

We are being told to get out of our house,” one of them said. “We are in a real fix.”

The central government and Fukushima prefectural authorities have been providing prefabricated temporary housing units or paying the rent of those who have evacuated either within or to outside the prefecture, even if they did not come from designated evacuation zones.

The measures were introduced because many residents living outside evacuation zones left their homes out of anxiety over the spread of radioactive fallout.

A total of 231.6 billion yen ($2.9 billion) had been spent by March 2016 on 44,000 households, including the cost of building prefab temporary housing units.

But the Fukushima prefectural government decided in June 2015 to discontinue the assistance for evacuees from areas outside evacuation zones.

With cleanup efforts moving ahead, the living environments are getting better,” Fukushima Governor Masao Uchibori said at the time.

The decision will affect the so-called voluntary evacuees, who lived in areas that were never designated evacuation zones, and evacuees from areas where evacuation orders were lifted in 2014.

Briefing sessions have been held by the prefectural government since December 2015 at about 40 locations within and outside the prefecture to explain details of rent subsidy measures for low-income households, which will replace the free housing benefits.

In late September, prefectural government officials faced a barrage of questions from about 70 residents of Kawauchi, Fukushima Prefecture, who packed a meeting hall in a temporary housing complex in Koriyama, also in the prefecture.

The village of Kawauchi had 2,739 residents as of Oct. 1 and at least 889 of them were living for free in rented housing, prefab temporary housing units and elsewhere outside the village.

Fumio Sakuma, 67, is one of them. His wife, who has a kidney disease, takes a 40-minute drive to hospital three times a week to undergo dialysis. Sakuma said he is anxious about having to relocate with his sick wife.

We would feel grateful if we were allowed to stay here for one or two more years,” he said at the meeting.

Municipalities in disaster areas in Fukushima Prefecture, in the meantime, are hoping that the end of the free housing benefits will see a return of residents.

Assistance measures by the central and prefectural governments cannot continue forever,” said Yuko Endo, mayor of Kawauchi. “We might as well take a step forward to rebuild our livelihoods.”

The town of Naraha, also in Fukushima Prefecture, has seen less than 10 percent of its residents return.

More than five and a half years have passed since the onset of the nuclear disaster,” said Naraha Mayor Yukiei Matsumoto. “It’s time for every one of us to think about standing on our own two feet.”

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201612010006.html


December 1, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment

Fire destroys Fukushima nuclear disaster evacuee housing

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Fueled by strong winds, fire engulfs temporary housing at the Yoshima industrial park in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, on Oct. 6, 2016.

IWAKI, Fukushima — A fire on Oct. 6 destroyed temporary housing for residents of Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, who evacuated here due to the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant disaster, police said.

The fire broke out at around 4:25 p.m. and destroyed 19 homes in four single-story, prefabricated wooden buildings at the Yoshima industrial park in Iwaki. According to prefectural police, a 16-year-old boy was treated for smoke inhalation. The Okuma Municipal Government will supply the five households that lost their residences with housing elsewhere.

There were 72 households living in 86 of the 31-building complex’s 122 residences. Some 90 percent of Okuma residents’ original homes are within a nuclear disaster no-go zone around the Fukushima plant, and it is unknown when those living in the Yoshima industrial park might be able to return to the town.

Sho Tsukamoto, 29, an employee of a construction company who lost his residence and his possessions in the fire, said, “I even lost the picture of my dead father and other photos of my family that I brought from Okuma.”

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20161007/p2a/00m/0na/006000c

October 7, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment

Nearly 70,000 evacuees still living in shoddy temporary housing

temporary housing, Ishinomaki, Miyagi prefecturesTemporary housing in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture

Tens of thousands of evacuees from the earthquake and tsunami disaster in 2011 are still living in temporary shelters designed to last only two years.
Most of the 68,000 evacuees are from the hardest-hit prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima.
Temporary prefabricated housing was erected hastily because so many people lost their homes and livelihoods in the magnitude-9.0 Great East Japan Earthquake and ensuing towering tsunami that devastated northeastern Japan.
Under the central government’s system to help victims of natural disasters, such prefabricated homes are to be used, in principle, for just two years.
The scale of the disaster led to delays in constructing more permanent public housing for those made homeless.
Many of the communities devastated by the tsunami in Iwate and Miyagi prefectures are trying to build new public housing units for disaster victims on higher ground, but that is proving difficult because the coastal areas are so flat.
In the case of the Great Hanshin Earthquake in 1995, all evacuees had left temporary housing and were relocated in 25,000 public housing units just five years after the disaster.
It has been estimated that 29,501 public housing units need to be built for the victims of the 2011 disaster. But as of July, only 11,000 units had been completed.
Officials say construction of all the needed public housing will likely not be completed until fiscal 2018.
Many of those still living in the temporary housing units are senior citizens or those on low incomes who face difficulties in finding other housing on their own.
That is one reason there has only been a 40 percent decrease in the number of evacuees from the peak figure in March 2012. About 199,000 people are still living as evacuees.
About 10 percent of those in Iwate and Miyagi prefectures living in temporary housing either said they were unsure where they would go after leaving those units or local government officials could not confirm the intentions of the evacuees.
In Fukushima Prefecture, about 20,000 evacuees live in temporary housing units. Because nine local communities are still covered by evacuation orders due to the Fukushima nuclear accident that was triggered by the earthquake and tsunami disaster, about 70,000 residents are unable to return to their homes.
In a related development, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency updated its figures on the number of dead and missing from the 2011 disasters to 21,955 as of Sept. 1 against 18,554 on Sept 12, 2012. It said the number of fatalities includes those who died while living as evacuees.

Source: Asahi Shimbun

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/recovery/AJ201509120035

September 13, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

3/11 evacuees’ refusal to vacate temporary housing causes reconstruction headache

SENDAI – At least 900 temporary housing units in 20 municipalities in the disaster-hit prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima have not been vacated or demolished even though residents no longer have a dire need to stay in them, according to a survey.

 

If those dwellings are not razed, local governments cannot use the land to reconstruct their communities. But some residents have financial, emotional and other reasons preventing them from moving out, causing a headache for municipal officials.

The survey, released Wednesday, was of 46 municipalities that still provided rent-free temporary housing as of the end of July.

In Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, which suffered the greatest tsunami damage on March 11, 2011, 451 temporary housing units need to be vacated, while the town of Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, where evacuees from the Fukushima nuclear calamity stay, had about 160 such occupied units.

“I know it’s not good,” a man in his 20s said of the fact that he still lives in temporary housing despite having built a new home outside Ishinomaki.

He didn’t want to move out because he feared disaster would strike again, leaving him without a home.

“There are still many temporary housing units around and I don’t intend to move out anytime soon,” the man said. Ishinomaki still has about 7,200 such dwellings, the largest within the three disaster-hit prefectures.

In Sendai, where many permanent dwellings have been built, there were still 52 temporary units that need to be vacated, according to the survey.

A few families still live in temporary housing in Sendai despite the completion of a new public housing complex.

When a Sendai official called on them to ask why they hadn’t moved into the new complex, they said they were scared because the new housing had been built at a site that had been flooded by the tsunami.

The official didn’t pressure them further.

“But at some point, they need to move into permanent housing,” the official said.

The holdouts include elderly people living alone.

In one case in Shiogama, Miyagi Prefecture, although the resident had moved to a nursing facility, there were no relatives who could help move the person’s belongings out of the temporary unit. In another case, an elderly resident died in a temporary unit and no one came forward to claim or dispose of the occupant’s belongings.

Financial constraints are also discouraging residents from moving out of temporary units.

An unemployed resident in Kuji, Iwate Prefecture, has been reluctant to move out of the rent-free housing because the new public housing charges rent. Kuji officials have been unable to persuade the resident to apply for social welfare.

There were other cases in which temporary housing units were not vacated because they were being used for unauthorized purposes, including for storage or as hotel-like accommodations.

“There was a case in which the resident built a home outside the town but used the temporary housing to go to work in Onagawa,” said an official of Onagawa, Miyagi Prefecture.

“Technically, they need to move out,” said one official. “But some cases are complicated and we have a hard time resolving them.”

Although municipalities have built new, permanent public housing complexes and have urged dwellers in temporary units to relocate to them, there are other hurdles in the way of razing or consolidating the remaining temporary units, including getting residents to relocate away from their current neighbors.

As of the end of July, there were still about 52,000 temporary evacuee housing units in Iwate, Fukushima and Miyagi with an average vacancy rate of about 30 percent, and maintaining these communities and ensuring they remain secure are proving difficult.

Among the three prefectures, 10 municipalities have drawn up plans to reduce and consolidate the temporary housing units and seven are working out plans.

Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture, has managed since spring to get more than 50 households to move to another temporary housing site, taking the time to explain the situation to each resident.

Officials at Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture, held meetings in July and August to explain to temporary housing residents that some had to move to more consolidated units.

The city plans to reduce the temporary housing complexes from 92 to 23 by the end of 2017.

But the city has been forced to revise the plan because of delayed reconstruction work, which has irked residents of the temporary housing units who had hoped to move into better dwellings sooner rather than later.

Kyoji Nagaya, 62, had planned to build a new home on high ground, but construction won’t start for another six months or more. What he believed would be “temporary” housing turned out to be his residence for more than 4½ years.

“I don’t know how many times I’ve been disappointed,” said Nagaya. “I just have to wait.”

Source: Japan Times

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/09/10/national/311-evacuees-refuseal-vacate-temporary-housing-causes-reconstruction-headache/#.VfIEJpeFSM8

September 11, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment