4. 08. 2014 | News, Archive 2014

"We Are Not Leaving You on Your Own"

EMS continues to support victims of the threefold catastrophe in Japan

The threefold catastrophe of earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown in Fukushima caused immeasurable damage in Japan in 2011. Meanwhile many cubic kilometres of rubble have been cleared. Thousands of buildings have been built or renovated. But the long-term consequences are dramatic.

"Hundreds of thousands of people are still living in temporary accommodation," said Jürgen Reichel, EMS General Secretary, returning from his visit to Japan. Many older people are no longer able to accept the traumatic loss of their homes - and often the loss of their relatives - or settle down in a new place assigned to them."

For this reason the churches in Japan have introduced pastoral and social assistance in hundreds of temporary settlements. "We were able to speak to many people there," said Reichel. "They thanked the churches in Germany for not leaving them on their own. The EMS will continue to help them cope with their lives."

The churches in Japan, among them the United Church of Christ in Japan which is a member church of the EMS, urgently points out that the Japanes e government has not learnt from the terrible nuclear accident. "A national secrecy act stops people from publishing critical comments. No-one knows exactly what the present radiation intensities are. This is leading to the situation that many young families are totally uncertain because they do not know where they can let their children play or what food is radioactively contaminated," said Reverend Toru Akiyama from the United Church of Christ in Japan. "The Japanese government doesn't realize the seriousness of the situation. So they risk the health of their citizens rather than changing the nuclear-based economic policy of our country," said Akiyama.

The EMS continues to provide funds to Japan, so assisting the pastoral counselling of people in need, measuring radioactive levels and supporting holidays for children in regions which are free from radioactive contamination. They are also supporting the 'Declaration of Sendai', in which the United Church is demanding a departure from nuclear policy in Japan.


Press contact: Regina Karasch-Böttcher, karasch@ems-online.org, Tel. +49 711 636 78 85

Information: Jürgen Reichel, reichel@ems-online.org, Tel. +49 711 636 78 21