Witnesses repair a damaged ceiling in a home in Koshi.

EBINA, Japan—Jehovah’s Witnesses in Japan completed repair work on 348 homes of their fellow members, which were damaged by the earthquakes that struck Kumamoto, Japan, on April 14 and 16, 2016. Some 15,000 volunteers participated in the construction relief work that spanned from July 2016 to March 2017.

Although no Witnesses were killed in the earthquakes, some 119 Witnesses had to flee their homes. Those displaced were initially housed in 15 Kingdom Halls, places of worship for Jehovah’s Witnesses, while volunteers cleaned up debris in the victims’ homes.

A team of six construction workers install new roofing on a damaged home in the town of Chimachi.

Beginning on July 25, 2016, Witness construction workers repaired structural cracks, flooring, interior walls, roofs, and water pipes in homes damaged by the earthquakes. They also replaced doors, windows, and air-conditioning units.

Relief workers repair a damaged home in the town of Mashiki.

Mr. Minoru Kono, a former official with Japan’s Self-Defense Forces who observed the Witnesses’ relief construction work, stated: “In my line of work, urgency is of utmost importance in order to save lives. Jehovah’s Witnesses had the same urgency after the Kumamoto earthquake, as they quickly rushed to the affected area to help victims. And when the Witnesses began their relief construction work, I was surprised to see, not amateurs, but skilled construction workers coming from all over Japan to assist with the work. The Witness volunteers are extremely devoted and hardworking.”

Construction volunteers clear away broken roof tiles and install new ones in Kikuchi.

A Witness transports concrete into a damaged home, which will be used to reinforce the damaged foundation of a home in Uki.

Ichiki Matsunaga, a spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses in Japan, states: “Over the past few months, we have been recovering and rebuilding along with the thousands of victims of the Kumamoto earthquake. The practical assistance that our fellow members provided after this disaster has brought us invaluable comfort and strength.”

Media Contacts:

International: David A. Semonian, Office of Public Information, +1-845-524-3000

Japan: Ichiki Matsunaga, +81-46-233-0005