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2 Years After The Earthquake, Tsunami & Nuclear Disaster: Hope For Japan!


Japan Needs Your Prayers. 

Atomic Divorce:  It’s been two years since the gigantic earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan killed nearly 20,000 people; and caused the world’s worst nuclear disaster in 25 years.   The Fukushima nuclear disaster is still causing immense stress on families of about two million people across the affected area.   The stress has also created marital discord that has become quite common now that the phenomenon has been named genpatsu rikon, literally “atomic divorce.”  A professor of clinical psychology at the local Iwaki Meisei University confirms that there are numerous cases of the said phenomenon.

For instance, marital relationships are being torn apart over disaster-related issues; such as whether they should stay in the area or leave,  or whether it is safe to get pregnant etc.   To top it all, cases of discrimination against people from Fukushima are also slowly rising within Japanese society.   As a result some men could not find work, while some women were unable to marry due to fears that they were “contaminated.”  Just last year, Hobun Ikeya, the head of the Ecosystem Conservation Society of Japan, said at a public meeting: “People from Fukushima should not marry because the deformity rate of their babies will skyrocket.”

Suicide:  According to the National Police Agency (NPA), Japan’s annual number of suicides dropped below 30,000 people for the first time in 15 years in 2012,  to 27,766.  Although this may be good news, there is one suicide every 15 minutes.  There are many causes of suicide in Japan, bullying being the most common cause in schools.

This past week, three of my English students (all women) said that they’d prefer to commit suicide rather than be a burden to someone if they were suffering from a debilitating disease or illness.  Having been here for the past eight years, this line of thinking did not surprise me.   Suicide is highly romanticized in Japanese culture.   In a saddening discovery, Lifelink, a non-profit organization working on suicide prevention in Tokyo, said that:

“67% of women teenagers and those in their 20s who succumbed to suicide has in fact already tried to kill themselves before.  The finding resulted from surveys conducted for a period of five years beginning 2007 on 523 members of bereaved families who had joined in support group meetings” (Japan Daily Press).

In another heartbreaking story, two workers who have been sent to assist in restoring areas hit by the 2011 disaster have committed suicide after questioning the usefulness of their own skills to help.

Nuclear Radiation.  Most experts say it will take almost four decades to fully restore the crippled nuclear reactors of the Fukushima Daiichi plant.  This was the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl.  While the government assures the public that the plant is no longer releasing radioactive materials, radiation levels inside are still too high for the workers to be able to safely dismantle the reactors.

Send or Come and Serve.  

Maybe you’re reading this and sensing a tug in your heart to come and serve.  Maybe you’ve been praying and thinking how you can help practically.  Maybe you’ve been sending financial aid, but want to come and give your time and energy to love the Japanese well.  Why not give yourself to teach English for short-term?  Or commit long term into Church Planting among the 25 unchurched cities of Japan?  There’s much you can do.  The harvest is plentiful with more than 99% of the total population having never heard the Gospel.  And the workers are few- less than 1% are Christians.  As I mentioned in a post last year, it would be very unkind and unloving if we try to liberate people from their present temporal sufferings and not offer them the whole Gospel to alleviate their eternal sufferings.  I find the Gospel urgent as Japan now faces a high probability of another major disastrous earthquake in the next 30 years.


CRASH Japan (Christian Disaster Relief) issued an update on their facebook page saying:

“Three critical changes have been taking place in Japan for Christians.  The walls have crumbled down and the church is more connected than ever before to local communities, to other churches, and to the world.  In 2013, CRASH Japan will be working together with the DRCnet to prepare Christians in Japan for the next disaster. We have already begun training chaplains, networking churches and will bring disaster relief training throughout the whole country.  We have committed to investing ¥3,000,000 ($33,000) to preparing for the next disaster.  Please pray and help us reach this goal.”

Please Pray, Send, Serve and Give.  Japan is 2nd largest unreached people group.  Is God calling you to missions in Japan?  Get acquainted with the FAQs of our mission field.  Read: Why Japan?

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