As Japan prepares to observe the second anniversary of the devastating earthquake and tsunami on March 11, Qatar Friendship Fund (QFF) is making significant headway with a number of rehabilitation projects in the affected parts of the country.
With funding of approximately $100mn, assistance in the key sectors of health, education and fishery will continue until 2014. Seven projects have been implemented since the fund was created in 2012, including a $24mn fishery processing plant that is already assisting economic regeneration in Onagawa, an area hit hard by the tsunami.
Maskar, opened in October 2012, is a 7,760sqm facility expected to generate a market value and spillover effect of approximately ¥67.3bn, providing employment opportunities to more than 7,500 fishermen.
Meanwhile, children with special needs, school students and the elderly will benefit from various projects.
One of these, implemented in partnership with Aid and Relief Japan (AAR), is promoting a healthy and happy community in Tohoku.
Commenting on the project, senior programme co-ordinator Yoshino Horikoshi said: “Two years have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake, and the hope of recovery is now on the horizon. AAR expresses profound condolences to those who lost their loved ones. We are dedicated to continuing our support to the survivors living in the Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures. We are grateful for the support of QFF in making our activities possible.”
The project will ensure that children with special needs receive new playground equipment and support, allowing them to once again enjoy outdoor play.
Plans are also afoot to engage the elderly in revenue-generating activities that will bring renewed hope. Also under way is the screening provision to ensure good health, a key factor for a thriving future.
Children are also high on the agenda in another project that focuses on education through experiential learning. The project, which is a partnership between QFF and Junior Achievement Japan, will offer an experienced-based programme in Sendai and Iwaki cities, simulated to be like a real-life city - especially for children.
The project will directly and indirectly benefit more than 44,000 people and teach children valuable life skills.
Yoshihiro Nakamoto, managing director of Junior Achievement Japan, said: “In our society, children have been educated for a long time on ‘how to do’ but not ‘how to think’. We are delighted that the Qatar Student City & Finance Park will help the young people of Tohoku to exploit their intellectual resources to benefit their current and future life. We are sure that these youngsters will become role models and share influential messages with other young Japanese people.”
Regaining livelihoods and family unity lies at the heart of another QFF project launched in partnership with Eco-Foods. This project will help families learn how to grow and market food products.
Meanwhile, in Minamisoma city, a project launched with NPO Haramachi Club will offer a community facility. This will foster sports and culture, and offer protective care for people living alone and children who have limited opportunities to play.
Following the successful launch of Maskar, the fisheries industry continues to enjoy support and assistance. QFF, together with Kamaishi Hikari Foods, is introducing an ingenious system to freeze marine products more effectively. The project based in Kamaishi city will help facilitate and promote the sales of fishery products.
Speaking on QFF’s activities, Qatari Ambassador to Japan Yousef Bilal said: “As the second anniversary approaches, our minds turn to those parts of Japan that were hit the hardest by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. QFF wishes to reiterate its commitment to Japan and its mission to offer support through sustainable rehabilitation projects. We have already seen tangible results, and more will come soon. At this time, we give our heartfelt sympathy to those in Japan who lost loved ones two years ago.”
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