Japan shows how a country can recover from a natural disaster


Its known that Japan has been hit many times by tsunami. The city of Kamaishi is no exception and is struck by the after effects ever since.

It once had a steel industry and an awesome rugby team, but ever since the magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck in March 11,2011, more than 1000 people died and close to 4000 buildings were destroyed.

The previous tsunami hit in 1896 and 1933 but the city always managed to pick up the pieces and rebuild. Even reaching close 100.000 citizens nears the 90s.

Now its 35.000 and will probably drop to half by 2050.

The tsunami, while crippling, also prompted many Kamaishi natives living elsewhere to return to help. The city has also welcomed roughly 100,000 volunteers from around the nation, and some have decided to stay on.

“Our biggest asset is the new network of people from inside and outside the city. We want to use this to create a sustainable community, while downsizing,” Ishii said.

In terms of tourism, Kamaishi has a distinct advantage compared with similar coastal cities decimated by the 2011 tsunami: It is one of the 12 hosts of the 2019 Rugby World Cup, thanks to the mark it left on the sport.

It’s unclear at this point whether Kamaishi’s efforts will bear fruit, but there are some uplifting statistics.  Out of all recent graduates from the city landing jobs, hit a record 70.9 percent in fiscal 2017, compared with 48.9 percent five years prior.

Net emigration has been reduced to around 100 in the post-disaster years, compared with around 300 to 500 that was the trend over the previous two decades.

This could signal the city is slowly succeeding in retaining its younger generation while putting the brakes on population decline, said Ishii, the Kamaishi city official.


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