Thursday, 01 June 2017 14:53

2017 FUKUSHIMA & MIYAGI PREFECTURES (10 - 19 APR) Featured

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Background

Following the 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami and the subsequent Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant meltdown, CREST in partnership with Fukushima Inochino Mizu and under the leadership of Tsuboi Sensei, has distributed drinking water to families in Koriyama until 2014. Last year, CREST sponsored the Children’s Christmas Party. This year, CREST sponsored the supply of utensils, appliances, furniture and equipment for the Grandma and Child Cafetaria (おばあちゃんと子ども食堂) that is scheduled to begin operating in June.

Objectives of the Trip

Project evaluation and preparation for closure.

Team Members

Leader: Olivia Chan from CREST

Treasurer, Interpreter and Guide: Wong Lee Sin (OM missionary in Tome 2014-2016)

Travel Events

10/04/17, 1505 hrsArrive Narita Airport. Immigration and customs; collect Japan Railway East Pass; collect Pupuru mobile wifi. 

Date Activity Remark
09/04/17, 1000 hrs Depart for KLIA2.  
09/04/17, 1530 hrs Check in Tune Hotel.  
09/04/17, 2200 hrs Discussion and prayer with Lee Sin.  
10/04/17, 0705 hrs Depart KLIA via ANA flight.  
10/04/17, 1835 hrs Depart Narita Airport.  
10/04/17, 1945 hrs Arrive Sendai Airport, Train to Sendai city center; dinner; check in Hotel Green Palace  
11/04/17, 0700 hrs Check out hotel; breakfast.  
11/04/17, 1041 hrs Bullet train to Koriyama. There are a few stops, one of which is Fukushima.
11/04/17, 1210 hrs Arrive Koriyama; check in Chisun Hotel; light lunch with Tsuboi Sensei; to Santa House.  
11/04/17, afternoon Informal briefing from Tsuboi Sensei; observed water distribution. The adjoining room to the office and reception will be used to run the Grandma & Children’s Cafetaria and a kitchen that can bake bread in big quantities. Tsuboi Sensei has an intern, Yohe, whose wife is a trained patisserie who will run the bakery. Tsuboi Sensei showed the readings on the dosimeter at the warehouse. When placed at waist level, it reads 0.2. When placed on the ground under the gutter at the front of the warehouse, it reads 0.8. He also took us to a playground in a residential area and we took readings at waist level and at ground level under the bushes. There was great difference in the readings as well.
12/04/17, morning Meeting with Tsuboi Sensei at Santa House. He briefed us on the on-going projects, research projects and future plans. Interviewed a mother who is receiving water. Mission: “To save the life one child”. To support the children of Fukushima who are in danger of exposure to radiation due to the nuclear accident; to support Syrian refugee children. Project fundraising is done via direct cash donations, crowd funding, charity bazaar.
1) Water of life project: provide safe water to families with young children and expecting mothers. Free will donation of JPY500 at each water distribution. Companies such as Co-op and Asahi donate bottled water nearing expiry date to comply with No Waste policy.
2) Organize recreation day “4 Season Christmas” for local children 4 times a year at Santa House.
3) Conduct regular “Mother salon roundtable discussion” (mothers support group) at Santa House where the mothers can meet and exchange information and receive updates while their children occupy themselves at play center.
4) Ongoing research into using photosynthetic bacteria, Kougousei Saikin, as a household radiation decontaminant.
5) Ongoing mapping of hotspots and dissemination of information. Organize trips for children to uncontaminated areas. Studies have shown that staying in such areas for 1 to 7 weeks can bring down the level of Caesium-137 in the children’s body. Tsuboi Sensei hopes to buy a piece of land at nearby Lake Inawashiro to build a campsite for this purpose.
Syrian refugee project. "From the child of Fukushima to the child of Syria" is to restore self-esteem among children in Fukushima who faced rejection by others living in safe areas and to teach them to be a blessing to others. In April 2016, 2 containers of food and clothes had been shipped to the refugee camps. The next project is to assist in housing projects.
12/04/17, afternoon Depart from Koriyama at 12pm to visit Tomioka, Okuma and Namie. It’s a 2 hour drive. Distance from Daiichi nuclear plant: Tomioka 13km, Okuma 6km, Namie 9km. Tomioka is famous for its cherry blossom trees. The government wants the evacuees to return to their homes by 31 March. We were told that only about 30% are willing to do so. Those who choose not to return are not eligible for financial aid for the relocation. We observed that removal of topsoil is still ongoing and many sites are out of bounds to the public and guarded by personnel in full protective gear. We also compared dosimeter readings at waist level and at ground level and they differ invariably.
13/04/17   We did live interview for 3 mothers. There were 8 respondents to the written interview.
14/04/17 Recreation day in Koriyama and Miharu.  
15/04/17, afternoon Water distribution at Santa House. Depart for Tome at 7.45pm, arrive at 8.50pm and met by Lee Sin’s friends (Hanoo and Anne) from OM. To Masayoshi and Shizuko home where we will stay for the rest of the trip.  
16/04/17 Easter service at local church followed by memorial service at the columbarium and lunch in the church. In the afternoon, house church meeting followed by dinner at Stephen and Keiko’s home (OM missionary family).  
17/04/17 To Minami Sanriku. Visit 2 of Lee Sin’s contacts at temporary housing. Lunch with Reverend Nakazawa from Tohoku Help and Pastor Lee from OM. There are only a handful of families still living in the 2 temporary housing. One family will move to new housing provided by the government in June, the other to the daughter’s newly built house in September. Rev. Nakazawa has established a ministry in such temporary housing. Currently, his agency provides emergency funding to needy families who have moved in to permanent housing provided by the government.
18/04/17 Visit Doctor Coffee, a cafeteria outreach. Started by a group of medical doctors. Healthy organic fusion food. Lee Sin used to conduct language classes here. The doctors provide community service by making house calls. They also conduct free medical consultations at this café.
19/04/17, 1000 hrs Depart for Sendai for flight to KL.  
19/04/17, 2335 hrs Landed at KLIA.  

Activities

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Santa House, FukushimaInochinoMizu in Koriyama. Safe drinking water for families with expecting mothers and young children. The water is donated by wholesalers in Japan.

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Santa House, FukushimaInochinoMizu in Koriyama. A cozy corner for mothers to meet and exchange info and ideas. Used clothes for fund-raising. Kitchen to be renovated for use in the Grandma & Children’s Cafetaria project.

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Koriyama: Dosimeter readings differ at different distance from the ground. Resident groups and NGOs create maps of radioactive hotspots in their neighbourhood. They also do research on ways to reduce contamination in water, e.g. by using photosynthetic bacteria.

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Koriyama: We interviewed a group of mothers who are receiving water from Santa’s House. They did not wish to be photographed or videotaped.

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Tomioka, 13km from Daiichi nuclear plant: Contaminated topsoil being removed. The famous cherry trees are trimmed and wrapped in protective sheets. The government wants the evacuees to move back to their homes starting 01 April. More info at http://www.japantimes.co.jp/

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Minami Sanriku: There are only a handful of families still living in the 2 temporary housing projects we visited. New housing provide by the government. Rev. Nakazawa (5th from left) from Tohoku Help has been working among the displaced families since the onset of the disaster. More info at http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/

 

Submitted by Olivia Chan
01 June 2017

Read 183 times Last modified on Tuesday, 13 June 2017 13:56
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