Innovators Network

Toru Hiji - Next Cabinet IWATE & Board Member, Our Otsuchi Dream Plaza

Toru Hiji was a construction consultant based in Tokyo but moved to Otsuchi Town in Iwate, where he visited his grandmother regularly in his childhood, to work for the local municipality to support the reconstruction of Iwate after the earthquake. He is a board Member of Our Otsuchi Dream Plaza, a volunteer management organization that encourages local citizens to be more proactive in the recovery of their home town and in improving their lives. Their many activities include launching the Recovery Cafeteria, providing tour guides who talk about their experience during the disaster, coordinating opportunities with corporations to share knowledge about the recovery in Otsuchi Town, and managing a gathering place for the community. In 2012, the Plaza opened a temporary school to develop human resources and nurture regional culture in Otsuchi Town through product development and event planning. Through this project, Mr. Hiji expects more and more residents will become involved with the recovery process as active stakeholders.

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