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Continuing Support for Foreign Survivors: Noto Peninsula Earthquake


Many foreign residents living in Ishikawa Prefecture were affected by the Noto Peninsula earthquake, and they are living as evacuees with anxiety due to the difficulty in accessing government support information. AAR Japan (Association for Aid and Relief, Japan) continues to provide support to foreign residents who are often left out of assistance.

A man hands a bag of Thai rice to a woman

Laotian and Vietnamese trainees receiving Thai rice they are used to eating in Himi, Toyama Prefecture, March 2024

“The ground shook so much that I was really scared. I hid under a desk in a panic, but glass broke and I injured my leg.” A woman from Laos who worked at a sewing factory in Suzu City, Ishikawa Prefecture, said the Noto Peninsula earthquake was the first earthquake she had ever experienced in her life. The emergency alert on her smartphone kept going, and she panicked and moved to a nearby evacuation center with her dorm mates. “The Japanese people were so kind to us at the shelter, handing out treats, I cried with joy,” she said. They took refuge for a while at an evacuation center in Suzu City, but the factory where they had been working was unable to operate due to the earthquake, and they had to move to a factory in Himi City, Toyama Prefecture.

Since the earthquake, YOU-I (Nonoichi City, Ishikawa Prefecture), a non-profit organization that provides support services for foreigners living in Ishikawa Prefecture, has been providing supplies and interpretation support to foreign residents affected by the disaster. AAR has been working with YOU-I since immediately after the earthquake to provide foreign technical intern trainees with food, hygiene supplies, kerosene, and other assistance.

Asked by YOU-I to help distribute Thai rice and water provided by the Royal Thai Embassy in Tokyo (Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo), AAR delivered them to Thai, Laotian, and Vietnamese technical interns working in factories. Everyone who received the Thai rice smiled and said, “I am so happy, because this is the rice which I have always eaten,” and bowed their heads repeatedly, saying, “Thank you for caring about us and supporting us.”

Three men sit side by side behind a box of Thai rice

AAR staff delivering Thai rice to a man’s home in Suzu City, Ishikawa Prefecture, March 2024

Foreign residents who continue to live as evacuees in their homes are also forced to live in inconvenience. A man from Thailand evacuated to a nearby elementary school with his wife, a Japanese citizen, immediately after the earthquake, but switched to home evacuation after about two weeks due to the stress of living in a group. He said he was not used to the Japanese culture of bathing naked with others and was at first confused by the baths provided by the Self-Defence Force. AAR visited him at his home and handed Thai rice, which he said he was very grateful for because he did not expect us to come all the way to his home.

AAR will continue to provide support to those who are in difficult situations to help alleviate some of their anxieties. We ask for your continued support for AAR’s Noto Peninsula Earthquake Relief Efforts.

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