Great East Japan Earthquake


On March 11, 2011 our main directors gathered in Nagoya and Gifu in preparation for the 15th Conference studying NANBYO (Rare and Intractable Diseases) centers around Japan which opened the following day. During preliminary discussions in Nagoya, a strong earthquake hit. However, we didn’t know the extent of damage at the time so we proceeded to the Gifu NANBYOREN (NANBYO regional center) as planned. We soon realized the overwhelming extent of damage and devastation caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. Consequently, we held an urgent meeting the following morning and decided that the secretary general should return to Tokyo immediately to confirm the safety of patient groups’directors in the stricken area and to disseminate information obtained from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) throughout Japan.

1) Efforts by JPA(Japan Patient Association)

Confirming safety of local patient groups and support determination:

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2) Crisis management for patient groups

Immediately following the disaster, we focused on ascertaining real-time conditions in the stricken area and identifying solutions.

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3) JPA’s Independent Fundraising Activities

Support fund donations collected by individual patient groups’ members were delivered to each NANBYOREN office in Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima and put to use for patients in the disaster area.

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4) The Support Project for NANBYO Patients

FY2011, the planned support Project theme “Patients’ Voices” in which patients and their family’s personal notes regarding the Great East Japan Earthquake, were collected and documented.

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5) Efforts by member groups

Continuing efforts included supporting the organizations of patients with metabolic disorders. Their immediate need was sourcing non-dairy milk for their patients.

The solution was to have members pool their available resources from home and distribute it to the needy.

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6) Future issues and efforts, etc.

I have no determined proposals at this time. However, I would like to set forth a few problematic possibilities.

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“Report on the Great East Japan Earthquake and Support for People with Disabilities” pp.130-2, March, 2013 This article is posted with permission of Japan Disability Forum.