As part of their coverage of the 5th Anniversary of the 2011 Earthquake/Tsunami, The Guardian newspaper has an in-depth feature by Justin McCurry looking at the plight of orphans in post-tsunami Japan.
Among the people the newspaper spoke to was Aid For Japan founder Akemi Solloway, covering the practical problems that many orphans face – as well as looking at the reconstruction of areas such as Rikuzentakata which were struck by the tragedy.
“It’s a strange thing to be an orphan in Japan” comments Akemi, “not least of all because the adoption of children is very rare, so many people remain unaware that it’s even a possibility. Foster care is also uncommon. This means that many of the children we work with are either entirely on their own or living with elderly grandparents, and are unlikely to ever find another home or family to care for them. Emotionally they are simply traumatised.”
The long-term welfare of the region’s traumatised children is a cause for concern among local authorities, as Rikuzentakata and other communities undertake massive reconstruction projects that will cost at least 26tn yen ($232 bn) over the next few years.