1st March 2013 (Tokyo): As Japan prepares to commemorate the second anniversary of the Great East Earthquake and Massive Tsunami on March 11th, Qatar Friendship Fund (QFF) is making significant headway with a number of rehabilitation projects in affected areas of Japan. With funding of approximately US$ 100 million, assistance in the key sectors of health, education and fishery, will continue through to 2014.
Seven projects have been implemented since the fund was created in 2012, including a US$ 24 million fishery processing plant that is already assisting economic regeneration in Onagawa, an area hard hit by the Tsunami. Maskar, opened in October 2012, is a 7,760 square-meter facility expected to generate a market value and spillover effect of approximately ¥ 67.3 Billion, bringing employment opportunities to over 7,500 fishermen.
Meanwhile, children with special needs, school students and elderly people are to benefit from other valuable projects. A project in partnership with Aid and Relief Japan (AAR) is promoting a healthy and happy community in Tohoku.
Commenting on the project, Senior Program Coordinator, Yoshino Horikoshi said: "Two years have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake and the hope of recovery is now on the horizon. AAR expresses profound condolences to those who lost their loved ones. We are dedicated to continuing our support to the survivors living in the Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures. We are grateful for the support of QFF in making our activities possible and through our project, we look forward to bringing restored happiness to the community in Tohoku."
The project will ensure that children with special needs receive new playground equipment and support allowing them to once again enjoy outdoor play. Plans are also in progress to engage the elderly in revenue generating activities that will bring renewed hope. Also underway is the provision for screening to ensure good health, a key factor for a thriving future.
Children are also high on the agenda in another project that focuses on child education through experiential learning. The project, in partnership between QFF and Junior Achievement Japan, will offer an experienced-based programme in Sendai and Iwaki cities, simulated to be like a real-life city especially for children. The project will directly and indirectly benefit over 44,000 beneficiaries and will teach children valuable life skills.
Welcoming the Qatar Student City, Yoshihiro Nakamoto, Managing Director of Junior Achievement Japan said: “In our society our children have been educated for a long time on ‘how to do’ but not ‘how to think’. We are delighted that the Qatar Student City & Finance Park will help the young people of Tohoku to exploit their intellectual resources to benefit their current and future life. We are sure that the young people of Tohoku will become role models that will share influential messages with other Japanese young people.”
Regaining livelihoods and family unity lies at the heart of another QFF project launched in partnership with Eco-Foods. This project will help families learn how to grow and market food products. Meanwhile, in Minami-soma city a project launched with NPO Haramachi Club will offer a community facility. This will foster sports and culture, and offer protective care for people living alone and children who have limited opportunities to play.
Following the successful launch of ‘Maskar’ the fishery industry continues to enjoy support and assistance. QFF together with Kamaishi Hikari Foods is introducing an ingenious system to freeze marine products more effectively. The project based in Kamaishi City will help facilitate and promote sales of fishery products.
Commenting on QFF’s activity, H.E. Yousef Bilal, Qatari Ambassador to Japan said: “As the two-year anniversary approaches, our minds turn to those in the areas of Japan that are mostly affected by the 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami. QFF wishes to reiterate its commitment to Japan and its mission to offer support through sustainable rehabilitation projects. We have already seen tangible results, and more is to come soon. At this time we give our heartfelt sympathy to those in Japan who lost loved ones two years ago.”