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Attorney’s consultation service for rebuilding life: Noto Peninsula Earthquake


Two and a half months have passed after the Noto Peninsula earthquake. While restoration efforts such as infrastructure improvement and debris removal are being progressed, people are beginning to rebuild their lives in disaster area in Ishikawa. In response to their strong requests, AAR Japan (Association for Aid and Relief Japan) has been holding “Lectures and Consultations on Utilizing Public Support Systems for Rebuilding Lives” since the middle of February, and an expert explains simply about the public support systems.

People are listening to AAR staff member and the attorney talking

Lecture & Consultation session held at the “Concert Noto” in Noto Town, Ishikawa Prefecture. Attorney Kai Nagano (right) and AAR Shinichiro Ohara (left) in front, on March 9, 2024

Responding to the voices of people worried about the future

The Wakakuwa Community Center in Machino-machi, Wajima City, is where AAR began providing support shortly after the earthquake. After receiving massage service by occupational therapists, the survivors looked relaxed and started talking about concerns for their future lives.

“What should I do to rebuild my damaged house?”, “How much public support fund can I receive?”, “I cannot sleep at night because of anxiety”, “What will happen if I cannot rebuild my house?”. AAR decided to hold a briefing session for residents with the cooperation of attorney Kai Nagano (Vice Chairman of the Disaster Reconstruction Assistance Committee of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations/ Certified Disaster Prevention Expert), who has supported to rebuild survivor’s lives through legal assistance in the areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and other disasters. While preparing for the session, the local government officials also asked us if they could participate, saying that they wanted to hear the explanation from the expert in order to sort out the gathered information of complex system.

Each venue was a great success with constant questions from participants

People are listening to the attorney talking

Attorney Kai Nagano explains the process of the livelihood reconstruction
= February 12 at Kanakura assembly hall in Machino district of Wajima City, Ishikawa Prefecture

Mr. Nagano points out that “The first thing you should know is that, in Japan, the national and local governments do not automatically deliver support to you. Survivors can receive them only after you gather information on the public support system and apply for it by yourselves. Therefore, the first step is to learn about the system.”

The lecture and consultation session called “Things You Need to Know to Rebuild Your Life After the Disaster. Let’s Learn About the Process of Rebuilding and Various Support Systems,” was held at six locations on February 12 and March 9-10, with a total of more than 170 participants. Attorney Nagano explained the four stages of rebuilding process from evacuation to “repairing house,” “rebuilding house,” “moving (renting, buying, or building house),” and “public housing in times of disaster,” as well as the various public supports available during the process. He also clearly explained how to apply for support, things to note, how to obtain a disaster victim certification, and the relationship between disaster victim certification and support programs.

He further explained the types of housing damage: “completely destroyed,” “largely damaged,” and “partially damaged,” and the fact that survivors cannot move into temporary housing once they use the “emergency repair system (public support for repair costs)”. He also advised them to record a video of the damage before cleaning up their homes to obtain a disaster victim certification, and that it is possible to apply for re-examination in case they are not satisfied with the disaster victim certification.

Two men talking each other while sitting

Attorney Nagano gives an individual consultation in Noto Town, Ishikawa Prefecture

“Take your time and proceed with the rebuilding process”

Participants at all venues listened attentively while taking notes and asking questions, and after the lecture, there was a long line for individual consultations. They commented, “It was good to have an expert to listen to my concerns” “Understanding the public support system helped me to relieve my anxiety”, and “Thank you so much for holding this consultation session”. Attorney Nagano says, “I hope that they will proceed with rebuilding procedures without haste, carefully checking the details of the system and consulting with the local government and bar associations.

AAR is not only providing soup kitchens and supplies, but also supporting survivor’s efforts to rebuild their lives in various ways. We ask for your cooperation in AAR’s support for the Noto Peninsula earthquake.

A woman and the attorney looking at the damaged house

Attorney Nagano inspecting the survivor’s house damaged by tsunami in Noto Town, Ishikawa Prefecture

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