Displacement and Politics of “Transitory Space” for Resilience: A Case of the Great East Japan Earthquake

Saturday, July 19, 2014: 10:10 AM
Room: 313+314
Distributed Paper
Tadahito YAMAMOTO , The Institute of Politics and Economy, Tokyo, Japan
Yutaka IWADATE , Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo, Japan
Forced displacement induced by disaster makes various types of “transitory spaces” in the process of reconstruction. The aim of this presentation is to discuss about functions and politics of “transitory spaces” for disaster assistance in the age of population-shrinking/aging society based on a case study of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in Iwate Sanriku coast. The first point is to rethink about “temporary housing” system established in the 20th century. In the history of disaster in Japan conventional relief act defines “sufferers” by the standard whether they lost their own “houses” or not. As a result after the dissolution of emergent shelters public assistance tended to be concentrated on temporary housings made by the municipal government. But in the case of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami this system did not adequately function because in the age of population-shrinking/aging society when power of kinship and community itself more and more decreases having “house” do not necessarily mean that residents do not have “social vulnerability”. Inequality of assistance among sufferers in temporary housings and in their own houses became serious problem in the 2011 Japan disaster. To cope with such situation new types of social spaces emerged to mobilize multi-scaled resources and to make flexible and continual assessment on condition of sufferers according to the case. This is the second point. This presentation will focus on a temporary “base point” of assistance which was constructed by individual affiliate labor union in Tono area, one of the inland cities in Iwate prefecture. On the background of urban precarity and decline of provincial city this “base point” emerged as a nodal space for re-organizing collective infrastructure of life. Considering such politics of “transitory spaces” will offer a valuable hint to invent future system of social resilience.