Morita Kishiko, 53, President of a Conversation School, Kakogawa-shi
It has been almost two years since the quake hit. Our post-quake family
life has seen drastic change. We have left Kobe and stayed at a friend’s house in Kakogawa-shi for a year and eight
I shared the frightful moments of many who lived in Mitsumiya, one of the
violently struck areas. In that frosty weather, we passed several hours in
confusion and were unable to keep ourselves warm. We fought for survive,
casting aside any remaining sense of human dignity.
After the initial confusion, I came to myself and grew increasingly worried. Would I be able to support my daughter in sickness and my son who was studying in the Tokyo University?
In order to get information that would cheer us up, and collect medicines for my daughter, I would go to the district office twice a day. I also tried to obtain the half-destroyed status certificate, so that we can rebuild our life.
I had checked the contents of my friend’s certificates, and thought I should be able to obtain the half-destroyed status certificate too. However, I was only issued the partially-destroyed status certificate. It was a piece of paper that had no regard for the difficult position I was in. With the partially-destroyed status, I could not get any preferential treatments - no exemption for my daughter’s medical fees, no reduction for my son’s school fees and no preferential interest for a new house. The only helping hand came from my friends.
I got angry when it came to my knowledge that some victims, suffering lighter damage than I, obtained a house and were paid consolation monies. I made numerous trips to the district office, in the hope of doing something to make our lives sustainable. Despite feeling embarrassed, I told the officer all about our plight, and bowed to him again and again. In return, I was given a reply that I will not forget for the rest of my life.
I was told this: ‘We understand your situation, but we can’t bend the law for you. If you insist on having it, please change the law.’
At that moment, I could not believe what I had heard! How could he have said such a thing to a decent citizen who always paid his tax honestly? I overcame my fury instantaneously, and made a silent resolution: one day, I will rally our people behind me and change the politics of Japan because it looks down on the less-fortunate.
Presently, I am creating networks and studying about logistic support that will help launch female politicians into the political arena at Osaka. I study about the mechanism of the diet, perspectives of finance, responsibility of the citizens and the roles of the diet members. During my study, I have friends who ran for the city council member and were elected.
Last November, ten of us set up ‘Ripple’, a group linking women and politics. As suggested by the group name, it has caused new ripples in the political circle. I hope it will produce a diet member in the near future.
The disaster-struck regions are still plagued with problems. There are many residents in these regions. The Jusen issue is also a problem. However, as long as nobody gets angry or raises his voice in criticism, the administrative bodies are not going to look into their problems. In present days, our people must be able to assess the quality and ability of our politicians. At 59.69%, the lower house election last year saw the lowest post-war voting rate. Yet, those who failed will make a comeback someday, which is unpleasant. It is about time we started making some noise. We are tired of waiting passively for good candidates to emerge. We should actively select our own candidates and send them to the political world.
We shall not forgive our administrative bodies that brush aside people who do not or cannot complain. We, who suffered a great deal during the quake, must look at this matter all the more seriously.
In my previous message, I touched upon my daughter who is suffering from atopy. Now, I can write honestly about the state of her illness. Her atopia condition, which started three years ago, was aggravated by the painful experience of the quake and has now affected the condition of her heart. Unspeakable pain and suffering continued to haunt us father and daughter. Amidst our situation, it warms my heart to know some people have overcome their hardship.
Disgusted by the sarcastic remarks by the district officer to ‘change the law’, I have done many things since, in order to make great strides forward.
I will continue to engage in various activities to make Kobe and other parts of Japan truly affluent and humane places to live in. I pray for my daughter’s recovery and hope to move forward with many others.