Today is the 2-year anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake. During this time many fundraising events have been organized from bake sales at local schools to corporate matching programs. Everytime I walk the halls of the JCCCNC, I’m reminded of how successful their relief fund has been and how much awareness they’ve brought to the tragedy. Yet there’s still so much to be done.
I was reminded by last week’s SF Chronicle article that little has changed in some areas. Urban areas like Sendai have for the most part recovered. The scene varies in more rural areas like Rikuzentakata and despite its visibility in the media, Fukushima is also a place where things still aren’t much improved. For every story about the problems at the Fukushima nuclear power plants there are hundreds of communities and people still struggling.
I’ve been fortunate that friends and family in Sendai are safe. We actually had a trip planned for May 2011. My mother’s hometown of Shiogama had an entirely different feel than all the other times that we’ve visited. The local park where kids used to play was filled with debris, presumably to be sorted, picked up, and hauled away at a later date. We walked by a small shop that my mother had bought from a year ago only to find out that their entire inventory of beverages and snacks were immersed in several feet of water after the tsunami flowed through. Some of the items were sellable but at a fraction of their original price. Our purchases may have helped the shop stay open for another day. But this one purchase isn’t nearly enough for the shopkeeper to rebuild his store and start anew.
My point is that help or support shouldn’t be a one-time event but rather a process. Many times we hear of an issue and help out only to lose track and not follow up. While hundreds of millions of dollars have been raised worldwide for recovery efforts in Japan not everything is whole again. It’s important for us to keep in mind that the recovery efforts are ongoing and that those impacted in Japan still need our help.
The views and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the original author and do not necessarily represent those of Nakayoshi Young Professionals, the JACL NCWNP District, or any other contributors to this blog.