On 11th March 2011, a devastating 9.0-magnitude earthquake struck the north-east of Japan, triggering a massive tsunami that claimed over 18,000 lives, washed away coastal cities, destroyed critical infrastructure and crippled thousands of businesses. Approximately 470,000 were displaced and 400,000 structures were partially or totally destroyed by the tsunami.

The tsunami also destabilized the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, leading to a major leak in radiation, which continues to cause severe human, environmental and economic damage to this day.

Peace Boat first entered the Tohoku region on March 17th, within a week of the unprecedented triple disaster (earthquake, tsunami and nuclear), and set up an operation base in Ishinomaki City.

Since March 2011, we have coordinated over 13,000 volunteers from all over the world to help local communities with both emergency relief and long-term recovery. Some of the focus areas of our work andkey achievements can be seen in the graphic below.

Current Activities in Tohoku

Four years on from the disaster, we continue to work with local stakeholders to rebuild lives and livelihoods. Together, we strive to build a more resilient community, whilst always ensuring that the local residents take the leading role. We merely support their vision for their future and help to build local capacities to ensure sustainable, long-term impact in everything that we do.

Providing Psychosocial Support for Temporary Housing Residents

The Kizuna Newsletter, which is published on a fortnightly basis, has now surpassed its 70th edition in print. The newsletter delivers timely, relevant information customized to residents of temporary housing areas, including shop openings, events and information about local healthcare services. Volunteers help with the writing of articles and with the distribution of the newsletter, going from door to door and interacting with thousands of local residents. As the focus on the temporary housing areas gradually fades away, this kind of psychosocial support is more vital than ever to ensure the well-being of local residents.


Fishery Support Project

One of the main obstacles that fishermen face is the lack of labor in the area, with much of the available work force either relocating to urban areas or finding employment in the booming construction industry. To combat this shortage of human resources, PBV’s Imacoco project aims to leverage the power of volunteer workers to help inject much-needed assistance into the fisheries. Under the guidance of local fishermen, volunteers help with essential tasks such as harvesting seaweed and oysters, and in return are provided with food and accommodation throughout their stays. This mutually beneficial system provides merits to both parties, where volunteers gain the experience of living and working in a rural fishing village, and the fishermen receive assistance with their work. This system also connects those from outside of the afflicted areas to those within, helping to fortify relationships and keep the memories of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami fresh in our memories.

LETS GO TO ISHINOMAKI!The best way to learn about the current state of the Tohoku region is through visiting the area. There have been over 300,000 volunteers who have visited Ishinomaki, but as time goes on, fewer and fewer programs require volunteers. In March 2014, PBV organized various programs and exhibitions, which attracted over 200 people from outside of Ishinomaki.PBV has also implemented weekend study tours for people to learn about the disaster and its impacts on local communities, as well as on-site programs to learn about disaster risk reduction.
Peace Boat Center Ishinomaki (PBI) was founded in 2016 as an organization to address local challenges in Tohoku region. There are four major projects in which PBI engages: “Imacoco Project,” which connects volunteers with fishing communities; “Kakinowa,” which is an ownership scheme for oyster farming; “Visit and exchange program,” where participants can learn about the earthquake; and “Hoya Hoya Society,” which is dedicated to expanding the consumption of hoya (sea squirt).
For more information, please visit PBI website (Japanese): PEACE BOAT CENTER ISHINOMAKI


Youth Ambassadors Project
Youth Ambassadors ProjectSince the nuclear disaster in 2011, the citizens of Fukushima have faced difficulties returning to their homes due to housing restrictions in residential areas. Children are disproportionately affected, both in terms of the health effects of radiation exposure and psychological effects of experiencing such trauma. Due to a merger of schools, transferring students and differences in curricula, parents, guardians and teachers worry about the decline in the children’s academic ability and physical health. The Fukushima Youth Ambassadors Project educates, empowers and connects children to different cultures and people, while also providing a means of getting away from the stress of living in irradiated areas. Most recently during Spring 2014, the children traveled to Singapore and Sri Lanka onboard Peace Boat to learn and interact with a wide range of people.
See Fukushima Youth Spring 2013 and Fukushima Youth Spring 2014 for more information)
Fukushima Awareness Raising Campaign
Fukushima Awareness Raising CampaignIn the wake of the 2011 triple disaster, Fukushima became the focus of the world’s attention as the
nuclear accident unfolded and local residents were forced to face exposure to radiation. Given the severe human, economic, social and environmental costs of this disaster, it is crucial that the lessons learnt are shared with the rest of the world to prevent history from repeating itself. PBV has organized and coordinated multiple events and projects where Fukushima survivors share their experiences and opinions with global audiences to raise awareness of this tragedy. PBV has coordinated the participation of mayors, civil society representatives and students from affected communities in high-profile international conferences and events in the following countries: Italy, India, Australia, Republic of Korea, Greece, Jamaica, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, Germany, Dominican Republic, Turkey, Brazil, France, Vietnam, Venezuela & Mexico.
(See Peace Boat Report and CWS Asia-Pacific Report for more information)
Fukushima Global Awareness Initiative
PBV will conduct a study tour, conference and symposium in Fukushima for global representatives from governmental, private and civil sectors as part of the “Fukushima Global Awareness Initiative” in March 2015 to coincide with the 3rd UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR).
The objectives of this initiative are as follows:

  • To raise national and global awareness of the impact and lessons learnt from the Fukushima disaster.
  • To provide a platform for Fukushima citizens to engage and interact with governmental, private and civil sector representatives from around the world.
  • To advocate for the inclusion of nuclear risks and appropriate risk management measures for communities living in nuclear risk areas in global DRR policy.
  • To build an informed community of supporters for Fukushima who can advocate for the survivors, both nationally and internationally.

See the Fukushima Conference Website for more details.