March 11, 2013, 6:30 pm
Two years have passed since a devastating earthquake and catastrophic Tsunami hit eastern Japan on 11th of March 2011. More than 19,000 people were killed or went missing, and approximately 470,000 people had to be evacuated.
By November 2012 about 60 to 90% of the rubble had been cleared. Yet, of those people evacuated approximately 300,000 people continue to live in temporary accommodation and have not yet found new housing. Although plans for reconstruction were developed in all regions affected by the catastrophe, only 27% of the planned public housing had been erected by November 2012. Even the restoration of agricultural fields and re-opening of fishing harbors are progressing only slowly; less than 40% is currently in use again.
In Fukushima Prefecture where the damaged nuclear power plant Fukushima Daiichi of TEPCO is situated, approximately 100,000 people within the prefecture and 60,000 people in other prefectures were resettled. The government has established designated special zones for decontamination. In these zones 11 cities and towns have created decontamination plans; four local government authorities have commenced comprehensive works. You can already see progress in the public institutions and buildings, and agricultural areas in the municipalities; however the decontamination of streets and private housing will still take quite some time.
Great perseverance and efforts are required for the reconstruction of regions affected by the catastrophes. For this reason, assistance to the regions must be long-term. For the second memorial day the Japanisch-Deutsche Zentrum Berlin (JDZB) has invited experts from Japan to report on the current state of reconstruction efforts. We hope thereby to gain a better understanding of the current situation in Japan. Following the Japan report we will present the results of the Berlin assistance services.
With this memorial event we would like to contribute to keeping alive the sympathy and support for the regions and communities affected by the catastrophes. The JDZB and other co-organizers look forward to your participation.