Japan: Supporting Food Services at Schools in Minami-Soma City, Fukushima Prefecture

After Earthquake, Difficulty in Procuring Food for School Lunch in Minami-Soma City

In Minami-Soma City, Fukushima Prefecture, it remains uncertain when elementary and junior high schools within 30 km of the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant will be able to resume operations. Students who used to go to elementary and junior high schools in Minami-Soma’s Haramachi and Odaka Wards have been busing to 3 elementary schools and 1 junior high school in Kashima Ward, which is situated outside of the 30-km radius.

After the earthquake, Minami-Soma City had no choice but to ask the school lunch center in Kashima Ward to provide lunches on an extremely limited budget, with each lunch allotted as little as 200 yen in July. Although a portion of the emergency relief supplies provided to Minami-Soma City was used for school lunch until the end of June, the rice supply was exhausted, and the city was not able to purchase any more due to the budget restraints. The accident at the nuclear power plant has made it difficult to procure local vegetables, and there is no budget to purchase vegetables from other prefectures. With shortages in both rice and vegetables, it has become difficult to provide nutritionally balanced lunches for the increased number of students in the schools.

July 2011 – At lunchtime in Ishigami #2 Elementary School in Minami-Soma City, students enjoy rice delivered by AAR JAPAN.

Delivery of Rice and Vegetable Juice

Hearing of the lunch situation from the Minami-Soma Board of Education, from July 1st to 22nd AAR JAPAN delivered 2 tons of rice and 16,802 cans of vegetable juice (enough for 2 servings per week) to schools in Kashima Ward. Vegetable juice is easy to drink, and provides an essential nutritional supplement for students. 

Due to the increased number of students, some schools in Kashima Ward have experienced a shortage of classrooms, with screens being set up in the gym to create temporary classrooms to cover the shortfall. With so much changed in school, the students can take comfort in rice and vegetable juice at lunchtime.

The initial round of lunch service to Minami-Soma City was completed on July 22nd, with the city henceforth expecting to collect lunch fees from students’ parents. However, we still plan to rent a truck for lunch service from August 25th to September 24th at the start of the second semester.

After the earthquake, school lunches were Spartan until the end of May. The lunch pictured here consisted only of seasoned rice balls, milk, and processed cheese.

The menu improved after receiving support from all over the country. The lunch pictured here from July consisted of  bread, fried fish, fruit punch, honeyed jam, and vegetable juice.

Tokyo Headquarters
Based in the Tokyo Office since 2011. Worked at a private enterprise after graduating from university. Studied at graduate school in the UK before coming to AAR JAPAN.


We remain determined to continue to provide relief supplies for survivors in Fukushima Prefecture.