The Iwate Fukko Collaboration Center recently released the results of a survey they carried out with regard to residents in temporary accommodation in Iwate Prefecture. The Center carried out the survey with the co-operation of the prefectural government and the six coastal cities and towns it surveyed, ranging from Miyako City in the north of the prefecture to Rikuzentakata City in the south. The survey, taken twice a year, concerned living conditions, employment, the state of the community and plans for moving to permanent accomodation.
27 percent of respondents said they had plans in place for locating to permanent accommodation – a significant issue for all affected areas – and this figure is more than double the reply of 13 percent recorded in the previous survey taken in July last year. While it is pleasing to see progress, 30 percent answered that they hadn’t done anything and another 30 percent replied that they had only begun consideration, and so more than half of those surveyed have no clear plans for the future.
When those with no plans for moving were asked why that was the case, 49 percent replied that they were waiting for governmental decision for city developments plan or a move to higher ground etc. We can see the importance of information from government related to reconstruction progress. The relationship between plans for moving and satisfaction with the availability of information likely deserves attention. 53 percent of those with plans said they were satisfied with the availability of information necessary for their future livelihoods, while just 36 percent of those without plans were satisfied. It can be seen that it’s not just a case of necessary information not being there, but that which exists is not being conveyed. Table 1 on the left above concerns satisfaction with the availability of information for those with plans for moving (first column) and for those without plans (second column).
Another thing that warrants attention is the way in which residents get their information. 76 percent of those surveyed said they got information from the public relations departments of the cities and towns, significantly higher than the 38 percent result for newspapers, 30 percent for television and five percent for the Internet. While there are various means of media, the importance of government conveying information directly to the people is clear.
It is the government’s job to collect information across departments and convey this to residents in a manner which is easy to understand. While there is a pressing need to improve public relations efforts, it is difficult for the government to do this when there is a shortage in personnel for many of the projects. For example, RCF is helping local government in Kamaishi City to communicate with residents. While using a system to dispatch staff to affected areas by Ministry of Public Management, how the local government collaborates with external parties is an issue being examined.
Written in Japanese by Retz Fujisawa of the RCF Reconstruction Support Team
Translated by Nate Hill