Recently the Mainichi News On-line reported the following
仮設住宅消える日まで きずな新聞、被災者に寄り添う 宮城・石巻
The "Ishinomaki Reconstuction Kizuna Newspaper" of Ishinomaki-shi in Miyagi was a free information paper that aimed at victims of the Eastern Japan great earthquake accident, it re-appeared after ceasing publication for some time. Akiko Iwamoto, the chief editor (35) stopped publishing it after five year due to financial difficulties, marking the 5th year of the earthquake disaster. A former reader known as "The Uncle" passed along the words saying that “are you leaving me behind who is living in the temporary structure” “for victims of the accident there was not even one milestone in five years". Now the paper had decided to continue until the last person moved out from the temporary structure, aiming at staying close to victims of the accident.
The information paper was issued on the 10th of each month. With 4 pages of A4 size, a total of about 6000 copies were distributed to people in the accident temporary public housing that had about 1000 residents, and also to those in the disaster municipal housing (reconstruction housing) in urban areas. At the top page of the January issue was "A participation account of the nude parade in the Daito Festival ". It was an experience which was challenging to the reporter: wishes for good health and no disaster; and walking the town in nude form. "Nude parade will be also take place at Ishinomaki," “Also waiting for this month". The voice of joy had arrived.
Mr. Iwamoto who lived in Yokohama came to Ishinomaki jumped into action among shelters etc. as a volunteer immediately after the earthquake disaster. Taking up the post of chief editor of the "Temporary Kizuna Newspaper", a volunteer group in Tokyo, he began to publish issues from 2012. But as time passed, grants and human resources decreased.
A cessation of publication was decided in March, 2016. But when the publication was suspended, it called back of the word “abandon", which one could understand the loneliness inside: the helping hand was fading. The same was also felt by Mr. Iwamoto.
Members too also felt the words " ‘Thank you very much’ it will be worth doing" , and wished for a continuation. By a reader questionnaire, more than 80 percent answered "want" it to be continued. A husband in Tokyo who married in 2014 and living apart would help with editing work to give backing.
After the retreating of the volunteer group, fund raising was busy. By a crowd funding the whole country was looked to for cooperation and the "Ishinomaki Reconstruction Kizuna Newspaper House" was established in the said city in April 2016. The first issue was published in June. At present it was operating with 2 staff and about 30 volunteers. Mr. Iwamoto with a smile said "The people who kept crying are back to vigor. It is most pleasing when I got close to such days.”
It is nice to know that this local newspaper has returned through the kind efforts of the volunteers.