CASE 20「Non-Profit Organization Akita Partnership (Akita Prefecture, Japan)」
Main Article - Society to Understand the Current Situation of Fukushima in Akita & Yoichi (Akita-Shi, Akita Prefecture / August 3, 2019)
We visited the "Yugakusha" facility located in Akita City in Akita Prefecture on Saturday August 3, 2019.
Yugakusha is a facility that was opened in 2002 as an activity base to utilize free time effectively, such as for volunteers, NPO activities, and leisure and cultural activities. The designated manager of the base for the reconstruction of livelihoods was the "Non-Profit Organization Akita Partnership" in Akita Prefecture.
Akita Prefecture built a support system cooperating under public-private discussion immediately after the Great East Japan Earthquake, and has been engaging in various support activities with the "Liaison Council for Supporting Evacuees from Fukushima Prefecture".
On this day, the "Society to Understand the Current Situation of Fukushima in Akita" and the "Salon for University Students" were held by the "Liaison Council for Supporting Evacuees from Fukushima Prefecture". The "Yoichi (night market)," which is an annual summer festival held by the "Non-Profit Organization Akita Partnership," was held at the same time. Participants were evacuees to Akita Prefecture after the Great East Japan Earthquake, and those who had once evacuated to Akita Prefecture but then returned to Fukushima Prefecture.
The "Society to Understand the Current Situation of Fukushima in Akita" was organized as a meeting that provides an opportunity for evacuees to talk, who are still living in Akita Prefecture, and ex-evacuees who already returned to Fukushima. It provided opportunities to understand the "current situation in Fukushima," which is unclear while living in Akita?such as what kind of life will there be in Fukushima after returning there, what the region is like now, and how children are doing in Fukushima.
Additionally in the "Salon for University Students", students of the Akita University Restoration Assistance Organization Circle, AKITAID, conducted various scientific tests for children and their parents who had evacuated, letting them enjoy and learn about science suitable for independent research during their summer vacation. The children really enjoyed it.
At the "Yoichi" held from 17:00 in the evening, various shows including a mini concert performed by the local classic guitar ensemble team "local guitarra" were held, and workshops and sales counters were provided to entertain the participants. A woman evacuated from Namie Town, Fukushima Prefecture to Akita Prefecture was operating a cheap sweets store on that day, and said "I have been taken good care of by the people of Akita Prefecture, and I wanted to do something for them during such an event. That's why I participated today."
Lastly, Ms. Junko Hatakeyama, Vice President of the Non-Profit Organization Akita Partnership conveyed her thoughts as follows: "It is important to have a place to come in urgent situations for a sense of security. I would like to maintain such a place and organization, where people can gather light-heartedly at any time."
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