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15. Fostering a Spirit of Recovery

15. Fostering a Spirit of Recovery

Helping to Rebuild Local Economies Through Job Opportunity

The 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami left behind tragedy and destruction. The Tōhoku region of Japan and the surrounding area were greatly affected and are still recovering today. In an effort to help rebuild the economy in Sendai, the largest city in the Tōhoku region, Recruit Jobs worked closely with local businesses and residents to stimulate employment through pro bono and heavily-discounted job advertising.

A month after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, Sendai’s essential infrastructure had been restored and residents were hopeful that they could begin leading their normal lives again. But the destruction of office buildings, local businesses, and homes had left the city’s economy in shambles. Companies based in the city were anxious about attracting the large labor force they would need in order to rebuild, and families who had lost their places of work were struggling to find other nearby employment and support themselves.

To generate job growth and stimulate the local economy, Recruit Jobs (RJB) began an initiative to allow local companies to post ads on its job search platform for free. The ads for jobs that would involve cleaning up rubble and demolishing toppled-over buildings quickly received amazing amounts of responses. Locals and people from all around the region flooded the application gates to offer their support in rebuilding the town.

“The job ads that Recruit put out really helped survivors who were out of work,” a local construction company based in the affected area said. “We were finally ready to begin moving forward.”

A few months after the disaster, Sendai’s economy began seeing signs of improvement. People from outside the prefecture who had taken up recovery cleanup jobs in the area were eating at Sendai restaurants and shopping at Sendai stores—boosting economic activity in the region. But as the need for labor-intensive disaster recovery support settled down, Sendai faced a new challenge: rebuilding the regional economy to meet these new consumer demands.

To continue to contribute to the area’s revival efforts, RJB organized a three-year recovery support plan for three affected prefectures: Miyagi, Iwate, and Fukushima. The plan halved job ad publication fees on RJB job-sourcing websites, including TOWNWORK.net, Hatalike, and From-A navi, doubled the usual publication period, and waived the publication fees for RJB’s specialized cellphone recruitment site. RJB also set up a web page specifically listing job vacancies that provided living accommodations for longer-term workers.

Today, Sendai and the surrounding cities have undergone substantial economic growth. Tōhoku region now sees thousands of international tourists and the reconstruction of many city centers and housing developments, as well as memorials, are nearing completion.

RJB learned a great deal about disaster recovery and opportunities for involvement thanks to the strength and perseverance of Sendai’s residents. The company has used this knowledge to support the economic reconstruction of other disaster-affected areas, such as those impacted by the tragic floods that struck Hiroshima and Okayama in western Japan in July 2018. In the aftermath of the floods, local companies in places like Kurashiki that had suffered extensive damage struggled to conduct business. So in addition to delivering job information to people in need, RJB partnered with the Small and Medium Enterprise Agency to publish special cover stories in TOWNWORK and hold a joint job information session.

Japan is still recovering from the natural disasters that have impacted its cities, families, and local economies in the past decade. Rebuilding is a team effort, and requires ongoing support. Inspired by disaster relief volunteers and workers, RJB aspires to contribute to the communities in need throughout Japan in every way possible. RJB hopes to continue to foster a spirit of recovery by encouraging employment that helps local companies grow and supports local economies.

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“A little goes a long way”