October 11, 2011

To all people living in affected areas left by the Great East Japan Earthquake,I have been informed that even though people living in areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake are trying hard to revive from the disaster, they face many difficulties, because of the huge scope of damages and the long time it takes to reach a consensus among the community.

It goes without saying that schools are the center of our communities. Schools are a major factor when families with young children attending school choose where to live. Schools are also essential to the community, as they stand as a symbol for all residents.

I am well aware that reviving a town is not an easy matter. I would, however, like to propose for towns to create a vision of how to revive their schools as soon as possible, as one idea towards reviving their towns. With this vision, people who escaped and are now scattered throughout regions lying outside the disaster-stricken areas will be reassured that it is safe to return to the neighborhoods near the schools. This will eventually revive communities and the ties between people, and can be a driving force to help reviving the entire area of the affected towns.

Up until now, MEXT has taken the necessary measures to secure the safety of our children and to ensure them an education environment. Today, MEXT has sent out a notification (dated October 11th) addressed to the Chairman of the Board of Education in 16 prefectures. In this letter, concepts, measures and support systems from the Government for preparing revival plans are stipulated, as well as questions and answers summarizing the current system of reviving schools in the event of a disaster.

Although there are various issues which must be considered in order to materialize a vision of reviving schools, I have proposed the idea of “Reviving towns starting from our schools” in hopes that materializing visions of schools under the firm leadership of the heads of their local governments may help revive communities and the entire area of the affected towns .

 

Masaharu Nakagawa
MEXT Minister

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(Office for Disaster Prevention,Facilities Planning Division,Department of Facilities Planning and Administration)