【3日目・レポート】自然体験をつうじたNPOの連携による子どもの支援事業/子どもが自然と遊ぶ楽校ネット Report on the 3rd Day: Supporting Children Through NPO Collaboration in Nature Experiences (NPO Gakkounet)

English translation will be available shortly.


“Connecting with a wide variety of experiences leads to a healthy growth,” says Toru Shinshi, director of NPO Gakkounet.




NPO Gakkounet took part in the “Civil Society Collaboration and DRR” thematic pavilion as part of WCDRR on 16th March. In the first section, the activities of the NPO were introduced, followed by a workshop in the second section. About 15 people who engaged in children support activities participated. NPO Gakkounet is a collaborative network of 8 NPOs that support children’s activities in Fukushima prefecture.




The Great East Japan Earthquake largely changed the way children play in Fukushima. The children were not allowed to play outdoors for extended periods of time due to the feared radiation effects. Some parents even prohibit their children from running on the field. This leads to stress piled up in children. In order for children to grow healthily, there is an increasing need for them to play outdoors.




There was a sharp increase in the number of organizations supporting children’s activities outdoors after the disaster, but many of them closed down in 2013 due to a lack of funds and human resources.




Also, this solved the common problem of human resource development that existed in all the organizations. With human resource development, a system was put in place to ensure children’s activities. When children are allowed to played outdoors, they return to their normal state of mind, leading them to revert to a calm and comfortable lifestyle. However, in Fukushima, it will take a long time for “playing outdoors” to become part of their daily lives again. This is their motivation to continue their activities with the interests of the children in their minds.







Director Toru Shinshi

Children are our society’s future treasure. Supporting each other and growing together will lead to a healthy growth of the society.


市民ライター 山田和佳子

【3日目・レポート】多様性が当たり前の社会を目指して 市民防災世界会議 Report from the 3rd Day: Striving for an Inclusive and Diverse Society

English translation will be available shortly.




A seminar was held on 16th March at Sendai City Civil Activity Support Center, on the theme of “Disaster Response and Diversity ~From the Perspectives of the Physically Disabled, LGBT, Gender and Foreigners”. This topic is commonly overlooked in the field of disaster management and relief support. Many people, from a variety of backgrounds, ages and nationalities, gathered at the venue to listen to the stories of how a diversity in physically capabilities, gender, language and nationality created problems in their lives, especially after the disaster.


【市民連携の重要性を学術的視点から説明するジャッキー・スティール(Jackie F. Steele)さん】

【市民連携の重要性を学術的視点から説明するジャッキー・スティール(Jackie F. Steele)さん】

Guest speaker Jackie Steele talking about the importance of cooperation among citizens from the academic perspective




This seminar was part of the Global Conference on DRR for Civil Society held between 14th ~ 17th March in conjunction with the 3rd United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction. The guest speakers spoke about how their “deviation from the mainstream” prevented them from entering into the evacuation centers during the Great East Japan Earthquake. “My intellectually challenged second son suffers a panic attack when he is confined to a space with many people, and so we could not live in evacuation centers and decided to sleep in the car for a week,” explains mother Akemi Onodera. Another speaker mentioned about how there were many sexual minorities who fell sick because they could not find the toilet that best suits the gender he or she relates to.





There have been many efforts attempted by the sexual minorities themselves to solve these problems, since the disaster. At “Motoyoshi Kizuna Tsunagaritai”, which Onodera is a member of, they created the Iwate Rainbow Network, made up of sexual minorities and their supporters, where they create spaces and opportunities for them to interact and support each other. These spaces allow them to communicate with people facing the same problems. This helps to reduce their psychological burden and relieve stress. At the end of the session, Eri Ishikawa, the director of Japan Association for Refugees, spoke about her hope that the society will evolve into an inclusive one where people can empathize with each other, despite their differences.




The 80 available seats were filled up by pre-reservations. During the session, shouts could be occasionally heard from the autistic man in the audience, but no one gave cold stares at him, as everyone in the audience at the session were people interested in the issues of the minorities. This is exactly what the society should be, recognizing and accommodating each other’s diversity and problems.




山形大学2年 小原永義(おばら・えいき)

東北大修士1年 尾崎希海(おざき・のぞみ)



Eiki Obara, 2nd Year at Yamagata University

Nozomi Ozaki, 1st Year Masters and Tohoku University

【Day 3 Report】Local Media’s Potential in Connecting Citizens



 At the Sendai City Support Center for Civil Activities in Aoba ward, a talk event titled “Local Media Open Editorial Meeting” was held on the 16th. Parties of five local media in Sendai city gathered to confirm the local media’s roles in generating a feeling of unity within the community and playing a part in community building.

media 1

The six panelists were Ms. Yuko Okazaki of “Mirain” – disaster reconstruction region paper from Sendai;
Mr. Ken Sato of “Nishippara Shimbun” – a newspaper by Nishihara-area residents;
Mr. Eiichi Hariu and Mr. Fujio Chiba of “038PRESS(Omiya Press)” – information sharing free newspaper of Miyamachi;
Ms. Kiyomi Kishida of “Yutori-to” – information sharing media of Nagamachi;
Ms. Yuko Hayashi of “Tago no Kizuna Tsushin (Tago Bond Communication)” – issued by Tago Citizens’ Center.
Mr. Kazufumi Sato, the Sendai Representative of General Incorporated Association, Media Project was the moderator of the event.


【respective local information publication】

Local media plays a role in planning and introducing various events and generating connections among citizens, along with the local information publications.

“The residents interacting with each other and building a relationship that offers mutual support leads to DRR”, said Mr. Sato, emphasizing the significance of the presence of local media.

In the Tago area of Miyagino ward where Tago Kizuna Tsushin covers stories and published, disaster restoration public houses for the affected have been built and will welcome 700 new households moving in. Kizuna Tsushin edits its pages with the perspective of creating connection between existing and new-residents.

The objective is sublime but the immediate issue is the lack of writers.
Ms. Hayashi says “if the writers are local residents just as the readers are, that will make it much easier for residents’ interaction to be generated. Currently, we have the Citizens’ Center staff are writing the articles but eventually, we hope the local people will be involved too as writers”, expressing expectations.


【Ms.Yuko Hayshi of Tago Citizens’ Center】

 038PRESS publicly sought writers. As a result, twenty-five citizens raised their hands, which far exceeded expectations.

 “There are in fact quite a number of people who are hoping to proactively communicate information,” says Mr. Hariu, eager to find unrecognized citizen writers to enhance articles and further develop citizens’ interactions.


 Since November 2011, by a program entrustment form Sendai city, “Mirain” has issued publication in an aim to establish and revitalize the community of the affected.

 In areas where great damage was done by the tsunami, most residents left their hometown. “Mirain,” as it carefully depicted the lives of the separated residents, has played a role of providing a “platform for reunion”.

 “Mirain” itself has closed its role as it published its final edition in March, 2015. There are now new seeds of actions to reestablish people’s connections such as Sendai city Wakabayashi ward Arahama area’s plan to build an actual site titled “library by the sea” where residents can gather together.

 “’Mirain’ will end its role but I’m happy to have made a point where the affected could maintain their network,” Ms. Okazaki emphasized the accomplishment of its three and a half years publication.
 “The involvement of the younger generation” was the common theme of the panelists’ discussion. There were numerous voices hoping for “a proactive participation of youngsters who are the future players of community building”.
 To develop the future of the region, the local media is a bridge builder between residents. As student reporters on assignment, this was a symposium where we truly experienced the attractiveness of being part of the local media.


Mirei Okuma, junior at Miyagi Gakuin Women’s University
Erika Suzuki, junior at Nihon University
Saki Miura, sophomore at Yamagata University
Shihori Saito, sophomore at Tohoku Gakuin University