Almost three months on from the horrors of March 11, the focus of support operations in disaster areas across Tōhoku was shifting from emergency relief to helping with reconstruction efforts. Volunteers are a vital part of this process; helping the disaster areas to move on from the disaster will require plenty of labor.

From June 3 to 5 the Nippon Foundation’s student volunteer center, Gakuvo, dispatched its sixth group of volunteers to help with the work of removing sludge and debris. This series of photos follows the group at work with other volunteers in the area.

The group was a joint undertaking between Gakuvo and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Along with 30 Japanese student volunteers, 70 ASEAN participants helped with debris removal and other work around evacuation shelters. Among them were 25 students from 10 ASEAN countries including Indonesia and Thailand, ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan, and ASEAN staff.

Photos: Kawamoto Seiya