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Report on a visit to Sendai one month after the huge earthquake

A report on the current situation in Japan from DoroChiba Union.
International Labor Solidarity Committee of Doro-Chiba. Doro-Chiba Quake Report No. 14 "Anger, fight and unity! We are striving to live" Let's organize a powerful movement against dismissal under the pretext of the quake and to stop nuclear plant =Report on a visit to Sendai one month after the huge earthquake = April 18th, 2011 Head Office of of the People's Earthquake Relief Center From April 11th to 12th, just a month after the huge earthquake, we, secretariats of PERC, visited the Relief Center located in Sendai city. We reached there via Fukushima by a truck fully loaded with relief goods. Violent aftershock repeatedly attacked us during we talked with our suffering friends there. We were shown Shiogama port, Sendai port and its surrounding areas and Yuriage district of Natori city, most terribly stricken by the quake. Life and death battle still continues in the affected areas What struck us the most was the serious fact that affected areas are still faced with the matter of life and death even a month after the disaster, far from restoration. It is evidently impossible to live without fighting. The center part of Sendai with one million inhabitants certainly seems to have recovered to a certain degree. But in the coast region of the city, we shockingly witnessed a totally different picture: wreckages by the huge quake and the subsequent gigantic tsunami are scattered all over the area, such as crushed cars heaped up like toys, shapeless debris of houses, washed up big ships, etc. Especially in Yuriage district, a view from a watch tower of fishermen violently shocked us. As far as the eye could reach, we saw only a vast dimension of deserted land without grass, trees, houses or factories ? We've got an impression that we should not have built housing in such a dangerous location. A gigantic tsunami had been anticipated to come in 30 years with 99% certainty from the experiences of past big tsunamis. It had been publicly warned not to construct houses on seas side area over Namiwake shrine on shore. Big housing developers ignored these concerns and bought up farmland to build houses in a large scale there. The disaster was brought about by capitalism itself which seeks only profit at the sacrifice of others. ? Repeated occurrence of inland-type earthquake as aftershock of March 11 huge quake is seriously aggravating the imminent danger of blast of Fukushima Daiich nuclear plant and radioactive contamination is expanding. Local industries and enterprises have already been swept away, causing a large-scale dismissal of lay-off of their employees, amounting hundreds of thousands. Employment agencies are flooded by jobless people. A vast number of farmers, fishermen and self-employed workers are completely deprived of their means of living. One of our colleagues of Sendai's Municipal Workers' Union told us: "Everybody has got hurt deeply in mind. We remember still now that there were several hundreds bodies of victims before our eyes just after the quake and tsunami. Many of us have lost houses, beloved family members and friends. You must know that many workers are driven to work hard, while there are workers who are out of job and struggling to live in despair and poverty." His story once again convinced me to fight arm in arm with those suffering and fighting workers there for a common cause. We completely depend on our own anger, fight and unity to live The Relief Center of East Japan in Sendai is very busy: many workers are visiting there one after another and they are talking over arrangement of relief works and starting from there with news and materials to workplaces and communities for organizing. The total amount of donations from across Japan and the rest of the world have reached millions of Yen and the office is filled with several hundreds of packages of relief materials. ? We are now violently confronted with a fresh attack of neo-liberalism that aims to suppress all independent relief actions in the name of "reconstruction from the quake disaster" in the affected area and everywhere in Japan. While capitalist rule is driven to the brink of collapse by the outbreak of earthquake and nuclear plant disaster, the corrupt labor movement leadership is proposing "political truce" and "restoration campaign by labor-capital collaboration". It is a critical moment for labor movement: anger of workers in workplace is suppressed and mass dismissal, wage cut and tax hike is attacking workers by the help of labor union bosses to maintain capitalist system at the sacrifice of working people. We need to develop the struggle against the attempt of dismissal under the pretext of earthquake in close cooperation with the nationwide campaign of national railway struggle for the reinstatement of dismissed 1047 national railway workers and against outsourcing. Doro-Chiba and National Coordinating Center of Labor Unions have already set up the People's Earthquake Relief Center and now launched a preparation for Job Counseling Center of the Earthquake. ? ?Stop mass dismissal under the pretext of the huge earthquake! Stop and abolish all nuclear plants immediately! Never repeat Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Fukushima! We fight under these significant slogans for the lives of everybody and for the future of our children. We pledge to organize vigorously our struggle from the affected areas, rise up for May Day and participate in the big rally of the nationwide campaign of national railway struggle on June 5th, developing our close links with wider range of workers and inhabitants.