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Great East Japan Earthquake

Outline of Damage and Suffering Due to the Great East Japan Earthquake and Related Accident

Around 14:46 of March 11, massive earthquakes with the magnitude of 9.0 struck Sanriku Coast, Japan. Waves of tsunami swept cities and villages of Tohoku district off the Pacific Ocean, causing devastating human as well as physical damages. Tokyo also observed tremors with a seismic intensity of 5-strong, but damage there was relatively modest. Aftershocks still persist, particularly in Tohoku district.

This earthquake and tsunami devastated Tohoku district and other regions. Damages were inflicted in East Kanto district, too. The number of deaths is 13,802, the number of injured is 4,928, and the number of missing is 14,129 (as of April 17 at 18:00 according to the National Police Agency). The number of those evacuated is approximately 182,122 (as of April 14 at 7:00 according to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency).

It is very difficult to calculate the exact number of affected workers and employers in this stage. However, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) estimates the number of establishments and workers in the coastal communes in 3 prefectures (Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima), it says 88 thousands establishments and 841 thousands workers.

Sympathies have been expressed and assistance offered from around the world. So far 134 countries and regions as well as 39 international organizations have expressed their intentions to extend assistance. Rescue teams from 20 countries and regions as well as and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) expert team, and the World Food Programme (WFP) have arrived Japan and have been operating in disaster-stricken areas. (The list includes countries and regions which have already left the site.) Japan has received relief goods from countries and regions throughout the world, as well as from international organizations.

Non disaster-stricken areas including Tokyo became calm and took the ordinary life back. And scheduled electrical power stoppage due to shortage of electric power was not conducted in these a few weeks because the climate becomes warm and some says it may not be necessary till the summer comes when we use an air-conditioner. It should be noted that this scheduled electrical power stoppage is planned in the area only where the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) supply electrical power (Only 8 and half prefectures including Tokyo metropolitan).

Measures and Activities Related to Employment and Workplace Taken by Japanese Constituents in Response to the Great East Japan Earthquake

More than 5 weeks have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, various measures were taken by Japanese government and Japanese social partners also made various efforts in response to this disaster.

Just after the earthquake, Japanese government established the "Headquarters for Emergency Disaster Measures" headed by Prime Minister Mr. Naoto KAN. On 20 March, "Subsidiary Headquarters for Special Measures to Assist the Lives of Disaster Victims" headed by Mr. Ryu MATSUMOTO, Minister of State for Disaster Management, was established under this Headquarters. As a subordinate to this Headquarters, "Conference on promotion of employment support and job creation for the disaster victims" was established under the chairmanship of Ms. Youko KOMIYAMA, Senior Vice-Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare, and held the first meeting on 28 March.

Of course Japanese government has taken lots of urgent measures for both affected workers and employers since 11 March. National wide network of Public Employment Security Offices and Labour Standard Inspection Offices worked very well and sufficiently under the instruction from the government even just after the disaster. They took measures like special treatment of labour insurance (unemployment insurance and worker’s compensation insurance), expanding of Employment Adjustment Subsidy Programme (EASP), enhancement of job placement for unemployed duet to the disaster including for new graduates and securing occupational safety and health.

On 5 April, the conference mentioned above compiled a package of measures related to employment and workplace, which seems to show us that measures enter into the stage of recovery and reconstruction from the stage of immediate relief. We can also find a kind of "Cash for Work" activities in this package.

They say the government is giving consideration to allow terribly suffered employers their remission of social insurance (an employee's pension, health insurance, unemployment insurance and industrial worker's compensation insurance) for one year.

Social partners (Japanese Trade Union Confederation, Japan Business Federation and so on) are also active to request to the government, membership unions or enterprises, to send volunteers to suffered areas and to carry on fund-raising campaign.

Accidents at Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant

After the Great East Japan Earthquakes (the main quake of moment magnitude 9 at 14:46 followed by 3-4 big quakes within 30 minutes along the wide coastal area) and Tsunami hit the north east Pacific coast of Japan on 11 March, serious accidents occurred at Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, which is located on the Pacific coast of Fukushima Prefecture at around 250 km from Tokyo and 550-600 km from Kyoto/Osaka area. > more - (pdf 37KB)

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Last update:04.04.2013 ^ top