2014年5月19日 星期一


A few weeks ago the NHK News on-line reported the following:
震災3年 人口13万人減歯止めかからず
311 1832
Due to the Great East Japan Earthquake, in the past three years the population in the three prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima which had suffered serious damage had decreased by 130,000. Inside them certain facts were found: in some self-governing bodies the population had decreased by 20% when compared with figures before the earthquake disaster, and the fact that population decrease had not stopped become a highlight.

In NHK, the changes in population was investigated, from March 1 of Heisei 23 before the earthquake disaster up to February 1 of last month, using the data based on population movements as showed in both the resident cards and the family registers in the three prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima.

As a result, it turned out that in the three years after the earthquake disaster the population had decreased by 132,210 people in these three prefectures in total. 

When it was looked at annually, in the first year of the earthquake disaster, it decreased greatly by 85,485 people, many had passed away due to the earthquake disaster or had taken refuge somewhere. In the 2nd year it was 29,247 people, and in the 3rd year after the earthquake it came down to 17,478 people. While the size was reduced, still the population decrease did not stop.

At the prefecture level, respectively Fukushima Prefecture, where the impact of the accident caused by the Tokyo Electric Power Fukushima Number One nuclear power plant was great, the number of decrease in these three years was 79,601, the size of reduction was the greatest Iwate Prefecture decreased by 34,636 people Miyagi Prefecture by 17,973 people. 

In self-governing bodies the pace of decrease in population were Miyagi, Onagawa-cho being the highest at 28%, ranking second was Iwate, Otsuchi-cho at 22% Miyagi, Yamamoto-cho at 21% Miyagi, Minamisanrikui-cho 18% Iwate, Rikuzen-Takata-shi 16% Iwate, Yamada-cho 13% Fukushima Prefecture Tomioka-machi, Namie-machi, and also Futaba-cho respectively had a 10% population decrease; in nine cities and towns it was a 10% percent or more decrease.

In the stricken area where emergency public housings were used as a base for new homes, 3% was completed at the end of last month among the about 30,000 houses planned. Also regarding the construction work for land that was to be used as a transfer destination for people for reason of disaster prevention, the percentage completed at the end of January this year stayed at 10% in various locations.

While a concrete revival for towns was not in sight, people who all along aimed at a life reconstruction in their home town until now also had left the area in quest for new home and employment. The outflow of those residents who had made a decision to leave had not ended. The actual condition of having a decreasing population had been highlighted.

On the other hand, not only in urban areas such as Sendai and Morioka or the inland, but also in the self-governing bodies that had suffered from the damage of the tsunami such as Iwanuma-shi, Miyagi, and in areas that had disaster prevention group relocation etc. in progress, in the 3rd year, a population changed towards an increase had also been noted, and a bi-polarization in the stricken area was progressing further.

About the present condition that a decrease in population was continuing in the three prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima which had suffered serious damage due to  the Great East Japan Earthquake, Yutaka Okada the Senior Research Scientist of the Mizuho Research Institute which was familiar with population problems showed  that “the possibility is high that a decrease in population in the stricken area will continue to progress because of the situation that there is no place to employ the young people, and the future of town planning was not known. In face of the bi-polarization in population increase and decrease in progress, on how are we going to draw the path of reconstruction in the Northeast as a whole, we need to reconsider fundamentally in a way that is not restricted by any precedents”.

How to rebuild the new towns is a huge subject for the Japanese Government.