Japan Press Weekly

Providing information of progressive, democratic movements in Japan
HOME  > 2014 March 5 - 11
Prev Search Next


3.11 disaster victims still stuck in temporary housing

March 6, 2014
Three years have passed since a devastating tsunami and earthquake hit Japan’s Tohoku region on March 11. Many disaster victims are still living in temporary housing units for various reasons.

As the major reason, they cite economic difficulties in renting a house or a room.

“I applied to my city for public housing for disaster victims, but to be honest, I don’t want to move out,” said 85-year-old Kameyama Kazuo living in a temporary housing complex in Ishinomaki City in Miyagi Prefecture with his 81-year-old wife.

They lost their home in the March 11 tsunami and moved into the complex located in a different district from where they used to live. They have to live on the small amount of pension benefits they receive, so they cannot afford to rebuild their home.

Although low-income disaster victims can receive preferential treatment in payment for renting public housing units for five years, they have to pay at least 10,000 yen a month in rent.

For the couple, the burden of 10,000 yen is heavy. The amount of money they can use for their daily necessities, including medical cost, is about 60,000 yen after paying utility bills from their monthly pension benefits.

At a recent gathering of complex residents, participants expressed their concern about the heavy burden of the public housing rent. The gathering was held by a residents’ group which was inaugurated in June 2012 to urge Ishinomaki City to build public housing units at a site near the complex.

When the Japanese Communist Party Ishinomaki City Committee surveyed residents living in temporary housing complexes in the city, many respondents voiced their worry about the rent for public housing.

As Miyagi Prefecture revised the prefectural ordinance in 2012, those who fall behind in their payments for taxes will be unable to apply for public housing.

JCP Miyagi Prefectural Assembly member Endo Ikuko said, “Disaster victims, who lost their homes, are struggling to rebuild homes despite financial support from the state. In addition, the revised prefectural ordinance sets stricter requirements for public housing occupancy. Disaster victims will have no way of restoring their lives.”

In Miyagi, the construction of public housing for disaster victims has failed to catch up with the number of units needed for disaster victim families.

In Ishinomaki City, 3,250 public housing units are under construction, but according to the city, 4,160 families want to live in public housing. In Sendai City, while 3,900 households have requested to move into city-provided housing, the city plans to provide only 3,200 households with public residences.

The JCP assembly members’ groups of the two cities called on their city governments to drastically revise their plans and construct more public housing for disaster victims.
Prev Next
Mobile  PC 
Copyright (C) Japan Press Service Co.,Ltd. All right reserved