[TOKYO, JAPAN, 9 May 2013]
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The Japan Committee for UNICEF (JCU) provides assistance for father-only homes and for fathering as one of its three pillars of continuing assistance in response to the Great East Japan Earthquake. On this occasion, JCU worked with its partner Niiza Childcare Support Network to publish an educational and informational magazine called Empowering Fukushima Fathers, a publication targeting fathers living alone in Fukushima Prefecture away from their children and wives, who have evacuated to other locations. JCU assisted in the production of the publication.
The opening of the Empowering Fukushima Fathers publication includes messages from people like Fukushima-born actor Toshiyuki Nishida, who says, "This is the spirit of the Fukushima people. People from Fukushima really love children and family." A message is also included from actor Lou Oshiba, a longtime supporter of fundraising campaigns such as the Global Handwashing Day and Hand in Hand. Distribution of the publication started in late April by local Fukushima governments and civil society. Empowering Fukushima Fathers was also introduced at the Miyagi Children's Assistance Conference, held in Sendai City on 24 April with the participation of local government and NGOs.
As of April, two years have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake, yet still more than 50,000 Fukushima residents are forced to live outside of their home prefecture (Source: Reconstruction Agency). JCU has answered requests from the Fukushima Prefecture Government by providing support to these families. One example is in Yamagata Prefecture, where there are a particularly large number of Fukushima residents. There, JCU as assisted its partner the Yamagata Childrearing Circle Land since 2011 in hosting the Mama's Café. In this way, the Japan Committee for UNICEF has overcome the hurdles that prevent Fukushima residents from forming ties with their community by providing support to children and mothers with concerns about childrearing.