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It All Started from Kobe

- How the voluntary and nonprofit sector emerges from the Kobe Earthquake

  with some focuses on immigrant and media movements

                  Aki Okabe

The Start Year of Volunteerism
   A devastating earthquake hit the Kobe area on January 17, 1995. The Kobe (Great Hanshin-Awaji) Earthquake left 6,398 people dead, 3 missing, 40,082 injured, 248,388 structures (with 446,485 households) fully and partially collapsed or burned [ 1], and 316,678 people placed in temporary shelters on its peak time on January 23, 1995 [ 2]. This is the worst natural caused disaster in the post-World War II Japan. (The second is Isewan Typhoon in 1959 that left 5,101 people dead or missing primarily in the Nagoya area.)
   If we have to find, however, a hope even from one of the worst disasters, the quake created a surge of volunteerism around the nation, making the year 1995 called "the start year of volunteerism in Japan".  Hundreds of thousands rushed to the affected areas. With the local and national governments stalemated, citizens and voluntary organizations rescued those trapped in collapsed houses, helped provide medical and nursing services, assisted relocatees in evacuation shelters, transported and distributed relief goods, cooked emergency foods, checked buildings' safety, cleaned debris, and provided psychological support for survivors. A daily average of 20,000 volunteers worked in the first month after the quake. The official estimate counted 620,000 people-day volunteering in all of Hyogo Prefecture in the first month and 1 million in the first two months after the Kobe Earthquake [ 3].
   Before that happened, people in Japan used to say: "Volunteering and nonprofit sector is a western and foreign idea"; "It does not work in Japan"; "The government takes care of everything in Japan and people need not do such things," and so on.
   No more. The Kobe Earthquake also destroyed these stereotypical arguments. Volunteerism can and did work in Japan. The government hopelessly did not work in a rapid change of the environment. People needed to initiate to act in the devastated cities. In retrospect, the Kobe activism would have been the forerunner of new social development in Japan. It was the forerunner of everything people would be finding later: economic slowdown, government incapabilities, aging, social stagnation, and an emerging model of civic initiatives to fight all of them.

NPO Law Enacted in 1998
   Within weeks after the Kobe Earthquake, the national Diet (parliament) began discussion for new legislation to support volunteering. In the next month, February 1995, the government formed "Government Agency Coordinating Committee on Volunteering" to coordinate related 18 national ministries and agencies. Political parties started drafting bills, with the first one introduced to the Diet by New Frontier Party in March 1995. Citizens and nonprofits organized a coalition "Coordinating Council on Civil Activity Systems" in April 1995 to push for legislation [ 4]
    In Japan, there was no legal framework for small civic groups to incorporate. Traditional public benefit corporations (Koeki Hojin) and other nonprofits were more like semi-governmental organizations. To incorporate, they are required of an approval from government agencies and the minimum amount of assets holding - usually several hundreds of million yen. What people started discussing after the Kobe Earthquake were bills to create a more liberal infrastructure for smaller groups [ 5].
   The Diet members from the then ruling coalition parties (strange bedfellows of conservative Liberal Democrats, supposedly-liberal Socialist, and New Party Sakigake) introduced their Civic Activities Promotion Bill in December 1995. With many changes, compromises and ultimate support from other parties, the bill was introduced to and passed by the Lower House in June 1996. The Upper House kept discussing the bill a couple of more sessions and finally passed it in January 1998 [ 6].
   "Such law would usually take 5 to 10 years to be passed. But because of the great impact of the Kobe Earthquake (volunteering), the law was created only in 4 years," said Yoshinori Yamaoka, executive director of Tokyo-based Japan NPO Center,  in his keynote speech at  the Earthquake's fourth anniversary symposium held in Kobe on January 17, 1999 ("Kenmin Borantari Katsudo Foramu Sinpojiumu Kioroku," http://www.hyogo-intercampus.ne.jp/v_1_2/f-sinpo.html). With dozens of nonprofit support centers being organized around the country and many other civic and governmental programs initiated, the nonprofit infrastructure building has momentum in current Japan.
   The below is some of the case studies of the civic activities that emerged and developed after the Kobe Earthquake. This is by no means a comprehensive introduction of the civic activities in Kobe. Kobe-based civic group Earthquake Civic Information Room (See the section "Recording Volunteer Experiences" below) compiled 453 voluntary groups in Hyogo Prefecture in their directory. Hyogo Prefectural Social Welfare Council maintains that there are 5,800 volunteer groups of all kinds in Hyogo (Hyogo Prefectural Social Welfare Council, *Hyogo-ken ni okeru Borantia Katsudo no Jokyo ni tsuite*, 1998.).

Support for Foreign Resident Survivors
   The Earthquake hit the weakest hardest. When the quake hit, more than 44,000 " foreign" residents lived in Kobe. One hundred and fifty one of them died (altogether 173 died in Hyogo Prefecture). While only 2.91% of the city population was foreign, 3.94% of the dead were foreign residents. Many of the foreign residents who died were pre-World War II Korean and Chinese immigrant seniors. Some were newcomer foreigners such as refugees, language students, trainees and immigrant workers, primarily from South America, Southeast Asia, as well as Korea and China [ 7].
   Newer immigrants and refugees did not have well-established community organizations. With language barriers, they had hard times even in understanding what was happening around them. Some had problems in immigration status and they were not covered by medical insurance or relief payment by the government.
   Immigrant support groups started relief work right after the quake. On January 22, 1995, five days after the quake, they organized Foreigners' Earthquake Information Center (Gaikokujin Jishin Joho Senta) to provide relief information to language minorities. The Center opened telephone hot lines and published newsletters, both in 13 languages. They aired news information  in 5 languages via a local FM station Kiss FM Kobe. Volunteer translators helped immigrants apply for government support and solve other day-to-day problems. The group clearly stated that they will not  report immigration status to authorities. By June 15, 1995, they handled 929 counseling cases [ 8].
   In October 1995, the Center was converted to newly formed Center for Multicultural Information and Assistance (CMIA). CMIA aimed at much broader perspective to build a multicultural society. The Erthquake simply reaffirmed basic problems foreign residents used to have in daily life. There was also a new wave of immigrants' organizing themselves in relief efforts. The CMIA aims to bridge these different community efforts.
   Based in Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto, CMIA provides a multilingual hotline (06-941-5734), financial support for immigrant mothers, free medical checkups and counseling services. They also publish multilingual guidebooks/pamphlets on health and other benefits, create an electronic conference for information exchange, produce multicultural radio programs for FM-YY (See below.), and train multicultural social workers. In 1996, they published a book (Hanshin Daishinsai to Gaikokujin, Akashi Shoten) to record the overall relief work directed to foreign/immigrant residents. In June 1999, they will be one of the first nonprofit organizations to be incorporated in Kobe by the New NPO Law.

Center for Multicultural Information and Assistance, Kobe
4F-B Fujimoto Bldg., 2-12-26 Shimoyamate-dori, Chuo-ku
Kobe, Hyogo-ken 650-0011
Phone: 078-326-7888  Fax:078-326-7890
Email: QWS02330@nifty.ne.jp
WWW: http://www.jca.ax.apc.org/cmia/

Park Tent Community
   Among different areas of Kobe, the hardest hit was Nagata Ward, which had a large concentration of low income foreign/immigrant residents. Its foreign population ratio is 7.9%. The Koreans (9,208) and Vietnamese (487) have the largest concentration here among Kobe Wards. Twenty eight nationalities live here. In this multicultural Nagata, more than 12,000 housing units were left "fully collapsed." Close to 4,000 units "fully burned."  As high as 65% of the structures in the Ward were "fully collapsed or burned." Seven hundred thirty five people died, including 59 foreign residents [ 9].
   While most Japanese evacuees went to schools and other publicly-provided shelters, many Vietnamese went to near-by parks. They stayed in tents set by themselves and volunteers. In Nagata, the Vietnamese concentrated in Minami Komae Park (114 Vietnamese survivors as of July 31, 1995) and Shin Minatogawa Park (34 as of the same date).
   Several factors were involved. They were particularly afraid of aftershocks and of being housed inside of buildings. There were enough volunteers supporting the life at parks. The mostly refugee Vietnamese did not want to leave a hard-won community.  They did not feel comfortable at public shelters where the Japanese dominated.  Some even received bad words from the Japanese relocatees. Once they got together in the parks, a new, reinforced self-help communities emerged. They did not want to leave there.
   Months after the Earthquake, when Japanese evacuees were leaving for newly-built pre-fab temporary housings, the Vietnamese actually kept coming to the park communities. In Minami Komae Park, the number of Vietnamese evacuees numbered 80 on February 1, about 170 in May, 114 on July 31, 106 on August 25, 71 on September 16 (). It was casually called "Minami Komae Park Tent Community."
   To be sure, many Japanese volunteered in the Minami Komae Park. Largely based at the burned down Catholic Takatori Church, they organized Vietnamese Survivors Relief Council on January 28 to effectively support  the Tent Community. The Japanese media reported about hardships of the Vietnamese evacuees. More relief goods sometimes came to the Vietnamese than to the Japanese evacuees in the Park, causing troubles between Japanese and Vietnamese evacuees. (As of February 10, there were 130 Vietnamese and 100 Japanese in the Park).
   A new cross cultural experiment was going on. On February 3, 1995, the people in the Minami Komae Park organized a community meeting to facilitate understanding between the Vietnamese and Japanese dwellers. They decided to organize a crosscultural self-governing association (Jichikai) of the Tent Community.  They regularly met to discuss Tent Community rules and organized various event together. (Some of the tent communities still exit. See Dave Aldwinckle's "Report: Kobe's Self-Serving 1995 Quake Relief," http://www.voicenet.co.jp/~davald/essays.html#kobequake)
   The  Vietnamese Survivors Relief Council later merged with another support group to form Kobe Resident Foreigner Support Center (KFC), which provides not only relief service but more comprehensive services and advocacy for all foreign residents.

Kobe Resident Foreigner Support Center (KFC)
3-3-8 Kaiun-cho, Nagata-ku, Kobe, Hyogo-ken 653
Phone/Fax: 078-736-2987

Planning for an Asia Town
   Out of these and other community efforts emerged an idea to create an Asia Town. In January 1996, concerned people organized Kobe Asia Town Promotion Council to build a prosperous multicultural community in Nagata.
   First there was a call for a Korea Town among the Koreans in Nagata, a community of Korean (non-leather) shoemaking small businesses and workers. Then the earthquake hit. Vietnamese and other ethnic groups as well as Japanese residents/supporters all worked together for relief and reconstruction. The Korea Town idea expanded to an Asia Town. Kim Son-Gil, the vice president of the Promotion Council put forward the following ideas for an Asia Town in Nagata [10]:

-Conducting Researches on Asian heritage in Nagata, such as Korean foods stores and other community resources. Reflect those elements in the city planning of Nagata.
-Scripting street and other public signs in multinational languages.
-Greening the industrial Nagata community by planting various Asian trees.
-Promoting economic development, with the emphasis on shoemaking and ethnic foods industry/businesses.
-Creating a cultural and social hub, especially around FM-YY (See next section) and the planned International Volunteer Cultural Exchange Center.
-Making Asia Town Kobe's main tourist destination, which is not commercialized but attractive to those interested in cultural exposure.
-Expanding cultural exchange facilities, including theaters, cultural performance facilities, tourist-related businesses, to make Asia Town a gateway to other Asian countries.
-Reinvesting the wealth from Asia Town projects into the community, so that those relocated from Nagata (due to the earthquake or unemployment) can come back to live here. Create a  community where the young can live with the old.
-Creating a place where prospective residents and businesses can appreciate the multicultural and other characteristics of Nagata.
-Expanding social capital including a history museum of Nagata  (for history of both positive and negative aspects), a shoemaking industry museum, nursing care homes and day care centers for elderly foreign residents, and multilingual medical and counseling services.

   After visiting various minority communities in the United States, Kim strongly felt the importance of economic development. Without it, he felt, any minority community become a segregated slum.
   Asia Town Promotion Council regularly organize cultural and economic events such as festivals, concerts, foods market, recipe classes, and educational forums.

Kobe Asia Town Promotion Council
3-3-8 Kaiun-cho, Nagata-ku, Kobe, Hyogo-ken 653
Phone: 078-737-5544  Fax:078-731-6927
Email: asiatown@ro.bekkoame.or.jp

Ethic Community Radio, FM-YY
   The community radio movement sprang up after the Kobe Earthquake. On January 30, 1995, Korean mini-station FM Yoboseyo went on air in Nagata. Helped by volunteers and the staff of Osaka-based another Korean radio station "FM Saran," the newly-formed station broadcast relief information and Korean music to boost sprit of the community people.
   On April 16, another ethnic radio, "FM Yeu Men" was started at Catholic Takatori Church by volunteers at Vietnamese Survivor Relief Council. FM Yoboseyo and FM Saran provided technical know-hows. FM Yeu Men aired relief information in five languages: Vietnamese, Tagalog, English, Spanish, as well as Japanese.
   "After the Earthquake, we handed out written translation of various relief information to the Vietnamese survivors in shelters and parks," says Junichi Hibino of the Relief Council. "But that had limitations, in terms of timeliness and the number of reachable people. We needed to spread information more quickly, and not only those in shelters and parks but to those beyond. What kind of medium is available?  We found radio."
   The two FM stations merged on July 17, 1995 to form FM-YY. "YY" stands for Yoboseyo and Yeu Men. It also phonetically mimics Japanese word "wai wai," a description of animated, noisy gathering of people. Grown from emergency needs, the FM radio station grew to reflect a more overall perspective to build a multicultural community. With Chinese and Portuguese programs added later, FM-YY is now on air in 8 languages every day and night from 7 a.m. to midnight.
   In Japan radio with output above 10 watts have to go through a cumbersome procedure for an official approval from the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications. When started, FM Yoboseyo and FM Yeu Men, and FM-YY were all unauthorized "pirate" stations.
   "When we started FM Yeu Men, we first considered of secret broadcasting, but finally decided to broadcast openly," Hibino writes. They sent press releases to mass media and tried to inform the widest possible public about the beginning of of a new midium . "We thought that the public would support us accomplishing what the government would not do. The criticism of the government's inability was everywhere. We predicted even (mighty) Ministry of Post and Telecommunications could do nothing to stop us." [11]
   That was right. The government did not stop them. Rather, they openly sympathized with the community radio and promised to do everything to help the station get an official approval. The government went through an unusually swift procedure and gave an approval on January 17, 1996, the first anniversary of the Earthquake, as proposed by the FM-YY people.
   FM-YY formed a for-profit stock company, the only choice in the pre-NPO law era, to ensure a reliable operation. All of their producers are volunteers. On the third Earthquake anniversary on January 17, 1998, FM-YY broadcasted an one-hour special Earthquake program through a network of 80 community FM radios nationwide, a new attempt to make their local radio stations national. FM-YY also started broadcasting on the Internet on the same day. Anybody with the Internet access can listen to FM-YY from around the world. Make Realplayer ready and tune to http://www.bekkoame.ne.jp/~fmyy/html/yyrealen.htm.
   FM-YY and other small FM radio stations proved effectiveness as community media especially in the emergency situations of the Kobe Earthquake. In the following years, the community FM movement gained momentum around the nation. The number of community FM stations increased from 14 at the time of the Earthquake to 83 by the end of 1997. As of early 1999, there were 116.
  The community FM is radio broadcasting whose power is less than 10 watts. It has only about 10 miles-radius reach, and is expected to serve small communities. The government allowed this class of small power stations in 1992. The first community FM station, FM Iruka based in Hakodate in Hokkaido, started operation in 1992. The community FM stations have developed innovative promotion tactics, such as the Internet broadcasting and networked program distribution.

3-3-8 Kaiun-cho, Nagata-ku, Kobe, Hyogo-ken 653
Phone: 078-737-3196  Fax:078-736-2211
Email: fmyy@ro.bekkoame.or.jp

"Glide Memorial Church of Kobe"
   FM-YY, Kobe Asia Town Promotion Council, Kobe Resident Foreigner Support Center (KFC), and many other community groups are based in Catholic Takatori Church in Nagata. Called as "Takatori Relief Base", the church became a vital community activity center after the Kobe Earthquake. In Japan, a church with a community center function is rare and experimental. On their way to an uncharted sea, they found Glide Memorial Church in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco. Some Takatori activists visited San Francisco in 1998 were impressed by the Glide Memorial Church, which with a similar concept (but in much larger scale) was serving the poor and the disadvantaged.
   On the day of the Earthquake, the Catholic Takatori Church was first severely damaged by the temblor. Then 10 hours later, it was burned down by fire which was still raging in the neighborhood. Without water or fire engines, people were just watching the church consumed by fire [12].
   Next day, people started coming to the church site,  wandering around, then cleaning debris, helping survivors, and organizing volunteers to help Vietnamese evacuated in nearby parks. They spontaneously started working. Father Yu Kanda, who stayed with vietnamese survivors at a park at the first night, helped coordinate these efforts.
   Thus came Takatori Relief Base. The base become an active center for relief work. With temporary buildings elected, the base/church was becoming a community center, having offices of various immigrant support groups. It has community radio broadcasting (FM-YY), community newsletter publishing (Monthly Takibi), Internet information pages, language classes, counseling services, job training programs, cultural and other exchange programs. The Takatori Base, now the umbrella organization of groups housed at the Church, is in process to form a nonprofit organization by the newly enacted NPO Law. The Base and the Church are planning to build a comprehensive community center.

Takatori Relief Base/Catholic Takatori Church
3-3-8 Kaiun-cho, Nagata-ku, Kobe, Hyogo-ken 653
Phone: 078-731-8300 Fax: 078-731-4104

Personal Story
   At 5:46 a.m. on January 17, 1995, Fusa Ito was sleeping in her apartment when it hit. Suddenly she was jolted on the bed. When she woke up trying to stand up, she was thrown away to the wall. Later she found a big hole in the plaster wall and a bruise (and pain) on her hip.
   "Probably that was about 30 seconds. I might have done many things. The China cabinet nearby was waving, so I held it. Then I felt, what a hell I was doing, and escaped to another room. I could not walk, just crawled. The light lump was shaking violently," Ito recalls.
   Then she heard plate shelves thunderously fell in her kitchen, while similar thundering heard from all around her neighbors.
   Luckily her 7 story, 70 unit concrete apartment building did not fall. It was in Takarazuka City, 10 miles away from the severest-hit areas in Kobe. Yet, the apartment slightly inclined, had many cracks on the structure. Its foundation in the earth was severely damaged. Later technically classified as "fully collapsed," the building had to be torn down to rebuild a new one.
   It sometimes take time for victims to understand what really happened. "Strangely I thought that Tokyo was hit," Ito says. "I was one of those who had been made to believe that Kobe was earthquake free. I thought Tokyo was totally destroyed, if we were hit this hard here (in the Kobe area)."
   Ito, never expecting her life in that building over, started to clean her room. The electricity came back soon. So the mess will be over in a few days, she thought.
   It was not until next day that she felt real fear to her bone. After several aftershocks and one night stay at the nearby evacuation shelter (school), she decided to evacuate to her video workshop office-appartment in Ibaraki (between Kyoto and Osaka) where her colleagues lived.
   "On my bike journey to a nearest operating train station, I crossed one of the severely-hit areas," Ito recalls. "I saw houses totally flatted. Smells of dust still everywhere. That was the moment I understood what really happened and fear came up to me."
   Eighty three people died and 1,100 injured in Takarazuka. True, she already saw fires, dark smoke, collapsed freeways and office buildings on TV, but that did not give her a true sense of devastation.
   Ito was shocked when she arrived in Osaka. Normal life was there, only 10 miles away from the hell. She had fried noodles and beer in a Chinese restaurant, which was operating quite normally. "Beer tasted so good," says Ito. "Finally came to a safe place, I felt."

Idea of Civic Media
   Ito's experience is just one of millions common among those who experienced the Richter scale 7.2, "right-underneath" earthquake. The experiences left a permanent impact on many.
   "I felt sort of alienated from what mass media portrayed on the Kobe Earthquake," says Fusa Ito, who now advocates community based media. "For example, you saw aerial views of a black smoke-riddled Kobe on TV so many times. You couldn't really sense the people living under those smokes."
   She felt that mass media coverages were "one(mono)-pattern and stereotypical."  She says, "there is some real sense of experience that only the people living there can convey."
   As a video producer, she is now more interested in civic media, controlled and produced by community people themselves. Her focus now is on the public access cable channels in the United States. Japan has no such channels. She plans to visit the United States to do more research on it.
   "Community-accessible media may not solve everything, but it is much better if we have media by which we can express ourselves - what we really feel," says Ito.
   Her group, Video Workshop AKAME, produces video programs on women. The products include "Women Who Chose Divorce," "What is a family?" "Women Forced to Become Sex Slaves by Japanese Military," "Our Media -Cable TV and Satellite TV" and others. The 6-member video group regularly organizes a video and talk show for community people. The most recent one was on "Civic Media's Potential: Let's Do Public Access!"
   "In the evacuation shelter, you know, families naturally sit together, facing each other. I am a single woman. I cannot get in anywhere," Ito remembers the first (and only) night she stayed in the near-by school-turned-shelter. "No, they did not treat me badly, but I felt really isolated."
   Families were everywhere, and the mass media emphasized that. "When in hardship, family! That was the message from the media," says Ito. "And men's and women's roles were reinforced. Like the scenes of women washing clothes by a river. Yes, that was the only way we could do washing at that time. But what is the meaning of countless repetition of such scenes?"
   Fusa Ito has produced no video on the Earthquake. "Frankly I was relieved when I found I did not to have my camcorder on that day," she recalls.  "It was very strange, but I did not want to direct my camcorder to victims like myself. As a video producer I may have had to record what happened, no matter what I feel. I was relieved because I did not need to go through that conflict of ideas."
   Was she an amateur or a professional in its sincerest sense? "I don't know," replies Ito. "Two weeks after the Earthquake, one of our video group members came to my damaged area to make shootings. We walked together. She did shooting. But I could not."

Video Workshop AKAME
Abitashion Kaji 2F-B, 3-1-6 Higashi-Awaji Yodogawa-ku, Osaka 533-0023
Phone/Fax: 06-6370-8568
Email: akamev@osk4.3web.ne.jp

University-based Cable TV Production  - Kansei Gakuin University
   Universities and students also took an active role. Kansei Gakuin University in Nishinomiya created a Relief Volunteer Committee, right after the Earthquake, to organize student volunteering [13]. About 150 students reported the university's volunteer center every day for one month. During their entire 3 month period, 2555 student registered and conducted 7300 people-day volunteering. They did everything to help survivors in shelters and communities. Some organized children's camps on January 27-28 and February 3-4 to take children out of their shelters to field trips. A group of female students organized an "Apple Girls" project, a psychological support activity. They sit with senior citizens in shelters to listen to their stories, while the students peel apples for the elders.
   In March 1995, students and media-related faculties organized "People's Channel," a Cable TV program to inform community people about their immediate issues. While mass media aired disastrous Kobe scenes to the outside world, People's Channel focused on the information the community people need daily. The organizers called their project "an information program of the survivors, by the survivors, and for the survivors." Their first program, a story on which stores are open in the neighborhood, was cablecast through a local station Cable Vision Nishinomiya (1200 subscribers) on March 6. It introduced mam-and-pa store owners working hard to keep the business open. For the 4 weeks through March 31, they produced 8 15-minutes programs, with one program cablecast twice a day.
   Based on their volunteer activities, Kansei Gakuin University organized Human Service Center (HSC), which was to conduct education and research on volunteerism and to organize student volunteering. The People's Channel project resumed under that new organization in June. Volunteers produced programs backed by corporate philanthropy. From June 1995 to March 1997, their programs were cablecast  not only vby the local Cable TV but a network of 12 cable stations in Hyogo Prefecture.
  The third stage of People's Channel started in April 1999. Separated from the University, the nonprofit People's Channel Promotion Organization started production and broadcast of a 1-hour program via a satellite and cable TV network "Sky A".  Called again People's Channel, the program is now broadcast nationwide on the first Monday every month. The program is specifically on nonprofits and volunteer activities. In their contract with the satellite TV company, the People's Channel Promotion Organization has control over production (with copy rights), while the TV company has a right to reject broadcasting the program. [14]
   In Japan, cable penetration is only 15% as of November 1998, while the United States has over 60% penetration. Japan has only one public access cable channel ("Public Access Channel" of Chukai TV in Yonago, Tottori Prefecture) and several public access programs. People's Channel, a public access program specifically on nonprofit organizations and volunteering, is a breakthrough in the Japanese TV industry. [15]
   Meanwhile the Kansei Gakuin University students who participated in children's recreational activities are now trying to organize a nonprofit corporation "Brain Humanity - Kangaku Learning Education Group," one of the first nonprofits  organized by students.[16]

Human Service Center
Kansei Gakuin University
1-155 Ichiban-cho, Uegahara, Nishinomiya, Hyogo-ken 662-8501
Email: human@bekkoame.or.jp

Peace Boat's Community Newsletter in Nagata
   Peace Boat is an alternative tourism group that organizes ship trips to Third World countries, sometimes around-the-world tours, to have grassroots exchanges at visiting port cities. Right after the Kobe Earthquake, the Tokyo-based Peace Boat received a lot of calls from younger people for volunteer opportunities. The group launched a ship visit to Kobe on February 12, with 72 volunteers, 890 bicycles, and 10 tons of  relief goods on board [17].
   In Kobe, Peace Boat had already started relief activities from their temporary pre-fab office in Nagata. On January 25, they started publishing a two-page newsletter called "Daily News" to provide crucial relief and community information to survivors [18]. They started with 2,000 copies, later with more than 10,000 copies. About 20 volunteers distributed them by bike or motor cycle. They collected information from their own observation, interviews with survivors, and every other possible information sources. Sometimes from small ads put up on power poles or bulletin boards on the sidewalk. While mass media provided overview information, Peace Boat's newsletter provided immediate daily necessities: foods available, clinics open, volunteers needed, shelters, temporary housings, government benefits, legal advice, free hot bath tubs, lost pets, stores opened, jobs, consulting for those who canceled wedding, all those small things.
   After two months of publication, Peace Boat's Daily News was succeeded by a community  magazine Weekly Needs, which is published by a local volunteer group called Start Nagata. Start Nagata also produces a community program "Saturday Express" on FM-YY (14:00-14:50 every Saturday). [19]

Peace Boat
NOKK Bldg. 4F, 3-13-1 Takadanobaba, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo,
Phone: 03-3363-7561  Fax: 03-3363-7562
Email: XLC00501@nifty.ne.jp

Recording Volunteer Experiences
   The Earthquake Volunteering Archiving Room, a project of Great Hanshin Earthquake Local NGO Relief Council, started information collection activities in March 1995. The rich and diverse volunteerism after the Kobe Earthquake was so precious that it needed to be recorded comprehensively. The Archiving Room made every efforts to collect and preserve information published by volunteers and groups. They interviewed them to obtain more complete information. With the help from libraries, they have analyzed and archived the records. Tentatively the record is stored at University of Kobe Library.
  Archiving Room became independent from the Council in September 1995, and was later renamed as Earthquake Civic Information Room. Their work now has a broader perspective to collect information on nonprofit infrastructure buiding. Their semi-monthly newsletter Mimizuku reports NPO activities not only in Kobe but around the nation. In 1997, they published a directory of 453 civic organizations working in Hyogo Prefecture (where Kobe is). In 1998, contracted from Civic Activities Support Section of Kobe City, the Information Room carried out a comprehensive research on the needs and current situations of civic groups in Kobe. The report, which includes interview-based information on 40 civic groups, will be available on their Web page shortly [20].

The Earthquake Civic Information Room
#101, 6-4-1 Rokuban-cho, Nagata-ku, Kobe, Hyogo-ken 650-0002
Phone: 078-515-2010  Fax: 078-515-2050
Email: kiroku@dodirect.com
WWW: http://www.dodirect.com/kiroku/

Kobe Recovery Forum
   People working in all those groups above and many others have joined the Kobe Recovery Forum, a unique network of professionals and activists. It started as a network of city planners, researchers, journalists and other professionals working with volunteer groups.  Bridging different volunteer organizations, the Forum functions as a citizens' think tank for planning and rebuilding of Kobe.
   The Kobe Recovery Forum's programs include,
1) Organizing public forums to discuss community rebuilding issues,
2) Having "Virtual University" field studies and classes, and
3) Constructing information network and databases.
   Particularly interesting are "Virtual University" classes, by which they give visitors an opportunity  to learn about the Kobe Earthquake and volunteering. They have lectures and field studies at devastated areas, shelters, temporary housings, new development sites, and volunteer group offices [21]. The program is based on an idea that people can learn from the community itself, and is intended to convey the Kobe experiences and lessons to the people outside. Virtual University does not have buildings or permanent staff, but provides "undergraduate or master-level quality education."  A typical 2-3 day course includes a half-day field trip, a half-day volunteering activities, three lectures, and an exchange dinner/party.
   In July 1998, the Recovery Forum organized a nonprofit sector research tour to the San Francisco Bay Area, which they dubbed as "Mecca of Nonprofits." They believe that building a stronger nonprofit sector is a natural development from the saga of earthquake relief volunteering. In October 1998, they published an extensive report on the nonprofits activities in San Francisco [22]. In June 1999, they are organizing another San Francisco trip to research on media-related nonprofit activities.
   "Kobe is said to have set back 10 years because of the Great Quake," says Kobe Recovery Forum in their brochure. "That view, however, neglects the other side of the coin. Kobe was actually thrown into the world 10 years ahead, with all the problems of aged society, stagnated economy, and increased public expenditures. The challenges we face here now are those Japan as a whole will face in the near future."
   A new society is emerging in Kobe. If Japan has a future, that may well come from Kobe.

Kobe Recovery Forum
4F-B Fujimoto Bldg., 2-12-26 Shimoyamate-dori, Chuo-ku
Kobe, Hyogo-ken 650-0011
Phone: 078-326-7888  Fax:078-326-7890
Email: QWS02330@nifty.ne.jp
WWW: http://www.survival.org/fukkoujuku/fukkoujuku.html

(End notes)
 1 - As of December 25, 1998. Hyogo-ken Chiji-ko-shitsu Bosai Kikaku-ka & Shobo-ka, "Higai Hukkyu Jokyo", http://web.pref.hyogo.jp/syoubou/kako/jyokyo.htm
 2 - Hyogo Prefecture, Hanshin Awaji Daishinsai - Hyogo-ken no 1-nen no Kiroku, June 1996.
 3 - Estimate by Seikatsu Bunka-bu Seikatsu Sozo-ka, Hyogo Prefectural Government.
 4 - Akihiko Takada, "From Civic Movements to Citizen's Activities and the NPO: The New Development of Civic Development of Civic Movements in Japan", *Review of Asian and Pacific Studies*, No. 16, 1998.
 5 - See Aki Okabe, "Overview of the Nonprofit Sector in Japan, http://www.igc.org/ohdakefoundation/npjpn.htm
 6 - See the detail of the law in Aki Okabe, "Overview of the Nonprofit Sector in Japan," http://www.igc.org/ohdakefoundation/npjpn.htm
 7 - Gaikokujin Jishin Joho Senta, *Hanshin Daishinsai to Gaikokujin*, Akashi-shoten, 1996, pp.74-75.
 8 - Gaikokujin Jishin Joho Senta, *Hanshin Daishinsai to Gaikokujin*, Akashi-shoten, 1996, p.148.
 9 - Gaikokujin Jishin Joho Senta, *Hanshin Daishinsai to Gaikokujin*, Akashi-shoten, 1996, pp.74-75.
10 - Kim Son-Gil, Toward Establishment of Asia Town, *Monthly Kobe Kara* No.9, August 1996.
11 - Junichi Hibino, "Chiiki Shakai ni Tayosei wo Hasshin Shitsuzukete - Shimin ga Unda Tabunka, Tagengo Rajiokyoku FM-YY," *Toshi Seisaku*, April 1999, p.104.
12 - Gaikokujin Jishin Joho Senta, *Hanshin Daishinsai to Gaikokujin*, Akashi-shoten, 1996, pp.160-161.
13 - This section is largely based on Shigeo Tatsuki, ed., "Borantia to Shimin Shakai, Koyo Shobo, 1997.
14 - Masao Tsuda, "Zokuzoku Umareru Intanetto Rokaru Hoso Kyoku - CS to Keburu kara Hajimatta Shimin no Kokyo Hoso," *Hoso Repoto*, April 1999.
15 - Masao Tsuda & Chihiro Hiratsuka, *Paburikku Akusesu - Shimin ga Tsukuru Media*, Liberta Shuppan, 1998.
16 - "Gakusei Borantia, NPO Hojin Mezashi Aratana Dai-ippo," *Kobe Shimbun*, May 21, 1999.
17 - Tatsuya Yoshioka, "Borantia Kakumei," *Shukan Kinyobi*, March 3, 1995.
18 - Fumiko Yoshigaki, "Minikomi-shi Funsenki," *Asahi Shimbun Weekly AERA*, March 25, 1995.
19 - Start Nagata home page: http://www4.airnet.ne.jp/start/
20 - Kobe Shi, *Kobe Shi Shimin Katsudo Jittai Chosa*, 1999.
21 - Kobe Fukkyo Juku, "Bacharu Daigaku: Machizukuri Kaso Daigaku no Koso," http://www.survival.org/fukkoujuku/virtual.html
22 - Kobe Fukkyo Juku, *Sanfuranshisuko NPO Shisatsu-dan Hokokusho*, Kobe Fukko Juku, 1998.