Tohoku: Utatsu Initiative

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Utatsu cho is a part of Minami Sanriku cho. The whole area was greatly affected by the earthquake and tsunami – out of a population of 17,665 people, 901 people either died in the tsunami or are still missing. The infrastructure in the community centre of Isatomae was almost totally destroyed by the tsunami.

The Project

The long-term aim of the community is to build an “Ecological Village” in the mountain area behind Utatsu. Meanwhile, they would like to re-start Isatomae Shotengai (shopping street) in a tented facility. At present, there are 14 temporary housing sites, accommodating 600 families. There are no shops nearby and it costs 6,000 yen by taxi to the nearest shops.

The tent has already been erected on a site above the middle school. Five shop owners from the Shotengai are keen to set up in the tented market (the other 22 are nervous and not ready to take the risk). The five shops will be: fish supplier, grocery shop, clothing and sports goods,  barber shop, and a general clothing store.

The group has set October 8, 2011, as the opening date for the tented market and have produced a news release.


RIJ has pledged 2,000,000 yen to set up water supplies, electricity supplies, hand-wash facilities, etc. and provide the five traders with some start-up funds.

This is a community project – conceived by the community, set up by the community, run by the community, for the community. We hope that it will give confidence to more traders to get involved and that it will bring the fractured community back together.



宇多津の裏の森林地帯に“Ecological Village”を建設することが、この地域が長期的な目標です。しばらくの間は、伊里前商店街をテントを利用して再開させたいと考えています。現時点で、14の仮設住宅に600人が滞在していますが、近くに商店は無く、最寄りの商店まではタクシーで6000円かかります。

商店街のテントは中学校以降の部分はすでに建設されています。熱心にテント商店の設置を考えているのは5人の商店主です(他に22人の商店主がいますが、ナーバスになっており、リスクをとる準備ができていません。) 5つの店は、魚屋、食料品店、洋服・スポーツ用品店、床屋、それに普通の洋服屋となります。







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