Prefab to the rescue
The day after the earthquake and tsunami, the Japan Prefabricated Construction Suppliers and Manufacturers Association was already taking orders for prefab homes from the worst affected areas: 10,000 for Miyagi Prefecture, 8,800 for Iwate and 14,000 for Fukushima. They also received orders for a small number of houses directly from two towns, Rikuzen-Takata in Iwate and Kunimi in Fukushima, and started building those shortly after.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism has been collaborating with the 14 housing manufacturers and builders who make up the Association, asking the companies for their cooperation just three days after the quake. Although the Association had drilled for emergencies, there have been many complications and logistical challenges, including inaccessible locations and fuel scarcity. Plans have inevitably been delayed. “We’re up against it with time and getting our hands on the materials,” says the Association’s PR Kazuo Shimazu.