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“Blessing Room” Made a New Start in Fukushima

Operation Blessing Japan’s new satellite office, “Blessing Room” opened in Minamisoma City and the opening ceremony was held on June 15th. 
【福島】ブレッシングルーム開所式
【福島】ブレッシングルーム開所式
Fukushima is in an especially difficult situation, which is very different from other quake-hit region. The unprecedented and ongoing issues surrounding the nuclear disaster makes it very difficult for the people of Fukushima to find ways to rebuild.

The nuclear crisis separated families and destroyed community ties. It’s not easy to rebuild a broken community.
The data shows that disaster-related deaths are much higher in Fukushima than in other affected prefectures (e.g. Iwate and Miyagi Prefectures).
According to a survey by the Reconstruction Agency in 2018, there had been 2250 disaster-related deaths in Fukushima Prefecture; corresponding figures for Miyagi Prefecture and Iwate Prefecture were 928 and 467, respectively.
People are becoming more isolated and social isolation leads to mental health problems like depression, stress, anxiety, and a lack of confidence. There’s also growing evidence that social isolation increases the risk of physical ill health.

Also, there is a considerable gap between the levels of compensation for forced and voluntary evacuees. Evacuees are regarded as “forced” if their original residence was located within the forced evacuation zones designated by the government. There is a drastic difference in the financial compensation provided to forced evacuees compared to the lower amount provided to voluntary evacuees. Because of this gap, problems associated with economic inequality is getting worse.

In addition, the number of organizations that support Fukushima is decreasing.
The government set a 5-year period for intensive efforts to reconstruct following the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. In March 2015, the Intensive Reconstruction Period ended, and many organizations also withdrew their support projects for Fukushima. However, the people of Fukushima still live under difficult situations and we need to keep investigating what the needs are to solve complicated problems.

To solve the problems in Fukushima, we aim to…
・Promote community reunification and support individual’s hopes and dreams to fulfil their potential and enjoy life.
・Ensure that everybody is given the opportunity to be included in decisions that affect and impact their lives
・Develop, grow and foster real relationships and partnerships within the community
【福島】ブレッシングルーム開所式
Thanks to your support, our satellite office, called the ”Blessing Room” was renewed and expanded this month. The Blessing Room was renovated to provide larger space for facilities such as a cafe, kitchen, staff office, and several class rooms. With the renovation and additions complete, the Blessing Room will continue to be a place where people from diverse cultures and backgrounds can come together and grow together in love and understanding for one another.

Without your support, we couldn’t continue to help Fukushima. Thank you for your prayers and please continue to help Operation Blessing Japan and our efforts here in Fukushima, Japan.
【福島】ブレッシングルーム開所式