Recovery From Tohoku Quake, Tsunami Hinges on Efforts to Revitalize Local Economy, Reports Find

The recovery of Japan's Tohoku region from last year's earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster hinges on revitalizing the local economy, two reports from San Francisco-based Give2Asia find.

According to the reports, Japan Earthquake & Tsunami Response Anniversary Report (22 pages, PDF) and Lessons Learned: The 2011 Disasters in Tohoku, Japan (11 pages, PDF), local partners are using support from Give2Asia to rebuild the regional economy. One of those partners, Eat and Energize the East, is restructuring its supply and distribution chains for farming and fishing communities in the region and testing its products to ensure they have not been contaminated by radiation. Another local partner, Entrepreneurial Training for Innovative Communities, is placing a hundred young, educated professionals with fifty local leaders to help them develop and implement new social services and business ventures.

Over the past year, Give2Asia and its U.S. partners have committed more than $5.6 million for ongoing disaster response activities in the country. Partners include Japanese-American organizations such as the Japan Society of Northern California and the Keizai Society, as well as corporations and corporate foundations like the Corning Foundation and Qualcomm. Approximately half the funds raised by Give2Asia have been used to support local organizations in the Tohoku region, while the rest will be invested in recovery efforts over the next two years.

"Prior to the disaster, Tohoku was already a marginalized area facing the challenge of a rapidly aging population," said Gillian Yeoh, Give2Asia's disaster response program leader. "Rebuilding Tohoku to its pre-3/11 state would be to put it back on an unsustainable path both demographically and economically. Philanthropy should play a role in addressing the underlying challenges that already existed before the disasters."

"Japan Disaster Recovery Hinges on Revitalizing Local Economy." Give2Asia Press Release 03/09/2012.