IWAKI CITY, JAPAN – A newly opened multi-purpose rehabilitation centre will serve disabled individuals living in the Tohoku region in Japan thanks to the Canada-Tohoku Reconstruction Project.

The Jericho Support Centre will provide rehabilitation and life skills training services for individuals with physical and mental disabilities. Following the devastating Great Eastern Japan earthquake and subsequent tsunami of 2011, nearly 1,000 disabled children and adult patients were evacuated from the nuclear exclusion zone and tsunami-hit communities.

“Canadians can be proud of our nation’s support for this project, which is part of a larger humanitarian effort,” said Greg Rickford, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources. “The centre is providing rehabilitation and training services for children with physical and mental disabilities in the Tohoku region, and will serve as an enduring symbol of Canada’s support for Japan following the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami.”

The completion of the Jericho Support Centre also marks the fourth project under the Canada-Tohoku Reconstruction Project. The $4.6-million project was initiated to help rebuild public facilities using Canadian wood products and advanced wood technologies in the aftermath of the Great Eastern Japan earthquake and tsunami. The project was jointly funded with $2 million from the Government of Canada, $2 million from the Government of British Columbia, $460,000 from Canadian forest companies and $150,000 from the Government of Alberta.

“The new Jericho Support Centre, as well as the other projects completed under the Canada-Tohoku Reconstruction Project, will serve as permanent showcases for Canadian wood products and applications in Japan,” said Teresa Wat, British Columbia’s Minister of International Trade. “The facilities are providing people in the most affected regions with essential social and economic infrastructure as they struggle to rebuild after the disaster.”

“Since its inception, the Canada-Tohoku Project has been of particular importance to the Province of British Columbia and its forestry partners,” said Steve Thomson, British Columbia’s Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. “On the west coast, we enjoy a special and unique cultural relationship with the people of Japan and we are proud to be a part of rebuilding lives and communities affected by the 2011 tsunami.”

Led by the Canada Wood Group, in partnership with Natural Resources Canada, the Province of British Columbia and the Province of Alberta, the Canada-Tohoku Project has completed construction of four buildings over a four-year period:

The Donguri Anne Public Library in Natori – A replacement for Natori’s original public library, which sustained irreparable structural damage as a result of the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake.
Yuriage Public Market – A revitalization of an important commercial hub in Natori.
Oranda Jima – A community centre built with donated B.C. wood that has playrooms, a soundproof music room, a tatami room for quiet time and counselling, a kitchen and a playground.
Jericho Support Centre – The most recent of the four projects, the centre provides rehabilitation and training services for over 1,000 disabled people who were displaced by the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake.
“It has been a tremendously positive experience to partner with many friends in the Tohoku region and roll up our sleeves together to contribute to the long-term reconstruction of the Tohoku region,” said Shawn Lawlor, director, Japan Operations, Canada Wood Japan. “These beautiful wooden legacy structures are now serving the needs of multiple communities in the tsunami-affected regions and will endure as a symbol of friendship between Canada and Japan.”

An official ceremony marking the project’s completion will be held in Japan on Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015.