The Fukushima Disaster Volunteer Center magazine “Heartful Fukushima (supplement issue)”, edited and published in cooperation with Fukushima Disaster Volunteer Center, NPO Japan Volunteer Coordinators Association (Tokyo), NPO Utsukushima Branch (Fukushima city), finishes its role with this issue. From the first issue published on April 26, 2011, we have enjoyed support and cooperation from many people. Thank you very much.
This magazine was created to convey widely inside and outside the prefecture information about the condition of disaster victims in shelters and volunteer activities in Fukushima which suffered from a major earthquake, tsunami, nuclear accident as well as reputational damage. At that time, most of the news about Fukushima reported in newspapers and television was related to the nuclear accident. In these conditions, in order to help move in a more positive direction and ease the hardships we faced, we continuously provided information about the municipality disaster volunteer center, requests for volunteer applications, introduced various volunteer activities, exercises that could be done alone as well as information on mental care. Basically, it was a printed form of communication for everyone. We also provide information in multiple languages on the Website.
I was in charge of the interviews from the first to the twenty-fourth issue. To provide timely information, I went on a tight schedule to issue this magazine weekly from the start to the twelfth issue. “If we think about our colleagues and friends who are unable to act because they are affected by the disaster, then it is up to us to act. I want to spread, in real time, the current condition of Fukushima”, said Mr. S passionately. “Footbath is a 10-minutes short story. I would like to listen more in the future”, said Mr. T with teary eyes. Thank you very much to all who have responded to my interviews sincerely while in pain and facing uncertainty for the future. I was moved by seeing people helping each other and sharing with each other knowledge and wisdom, irrespective of the boundaries of birthplace, occupation, age, etc. The spreading of kindness of people who went from self-help to assisting others was a shining light of hope in the middle of despair. During the interviews, I encountered many times the “awareness” that was naturally conceived in everyone’s heart while continuing their activities. I feel that this “awareness” which becomes clear when put into words, will become a driving force for the reconstruction of Fukushima, as well as for support in disaster affected areas that may be required somewhere in Japan sometime in the future. Reconstruction of Fukushima is a long process. I think everyone who is reading this magazine also feels the same, too. Use your words and voice as your reconstruction energy. The end is the beginning. I hope to see you again somewhere in the future.
NPO Utsukushima Branch
Freelance writer Ikuko Kamon