Three years after the double disasters struck the northern part of Japan, leaving devastation at its wake, rebuilding efforts continue. In Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture alone, huge restructuring projects remain to be completed and private citizens have already pitched in with the government to help. These locals and other citizens formed a task form aimed at helping the government fix stricken areas as it acts as a liaison between the people and the government.
Called Kamaentai (supporters for Kamaishi), the group is composed of 13 former professionals. Some upcoming artists, bankers, corporate traders and even employees from advertising agencies left their jobs to join the mix. 32-year old Masayoshi Yamaguchi, a former employee of a production company in Tokyo is among the members helping out. “Giving a boost to the festival and creating more opportunities for people to gather will lead to the reconstruction of the community,” said Yamaguchi. Him and the members of the Kamaentai were among those chosen by Deputy Mayor of Kamaishi Yoshikazu Shimada to help lead the efforts.
The idea for the Kamaentai was started by Representative Director Retz Fujisawa of the RCF Reconstruction Support Team. His group helps out in reconstruction projects in disaster-hit areas. According to Fujisawa, he “believes that the affected region needed an entity that will make up for a lack of communication between administrative officials and residents.” The work the group is doing in the area has helped the locals rebuild their lives. But its effects are also felt by the group’s members, who see more than the job required of them. 27-year old Izumi Ibaraki who previously worked in a textbook publisher, said, “I was hoping to have a chance to do something to stimulate local communities, which I was interested in.” She added, “I am able to have an experience that is not usually possible for people my age.” Since the group began in the region, many local industries have began attracting tourists into the area, helping revive the economy lost.
[via The Asahi Shimbun]