The Japan Workers’ Cooperative Union (JWCU) reported that an earthquake, which reached a magnitude of 9.0, hit the country on 11th March and caused a vast amount of damage to their member worker cooperatives, including severe damage to buildings.
The most severe damages were found in Onagawa and Ishinomaki in the Miyagi Prefecture and in the village of Noda in the Iwate Prefecture. Fortunately, most of the worker members have been found safe, but some of them are still missing.
Providing supplies to cooperatives in need
The JWCU head office set up a crisis center to share information and coordinate the assistance. Two regional centres are also running in the north-east region of Tohuka, one in Sendai and the other one in Akita, in order to collect information on the ground and distribute supplies.
All the efforts are focused on collecting and delivering goods and supplies to the affected areas. JWCU reports that many cooperative members nationwide have sent goods and supplies to the head office and other regional offices (sleeping bags, water, food, blankets, clothes, portable stoves, etc.). Several private companies have also donated supplies for JWCU members such as the Takasago Corporation, a construction company, and the Seijo drugstore. They will be distributed according to members’ needs and several trucks left last week to deliver supplies to the most affected regions. The city of Ohnojo in the Fukuoka Prefecture has approached one of JWCU’s nursery cooperatives about the possibility of sending staff to the affected area.
The JWCU president, Yuzo Nagato, will travel to Tohoku on 23rd March to see how to approach future actions. JWCU is organising a special fund to help worker cooperatives, which will be communicated soon. The fund will be used for financial and material assistance in both the short and long-term. We will send more information on this as soon as we have it.
Updates of the news can be found at http://english.roukyou.gr.jp/
International Organisation of Industrial, Artisanal and
Service Producers' Cooperatives
Secretariat: C/O European Cooperative House - avenue Milcamps 105
1030 Brussels, Belgium
Tel: +32 2 543 1033, fax: +32 2 543 1037