Volunteers flock to Oshima to help

Kyodo

Izu-Oshima Island, heavily damaged last month by landslides triggered by Typhoon Wipha, has been drawing many volunteers.

Kosaku Mukai, 46, from Kofu, Yamanashi Prefecture, who hosts a disaster relief radio show in Chiba that supports victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake, is one of those eager to help out the residents of Oshima and was planning to broadcast from the island.

“I want to speak up for the victims and report on the situation myself,” he said.

On his show scheduled to air Saturday morning, Mukai was planning to discuss conditions on the island since it was devastated by the 26th typhoon of the season.

On Thursday Mukai, who also goes by the handle “DJ KOUSAKU,” participated in cleanup activities in areas struck by the massive mudslides. Wearing a safety helmet and dripping with perspiration, Mukai helped shovel mud out of damaged houses.

“Let’s give an extra-large helping,” he said to other volunteers with a touch of humor to brighten the somber atmosphere, as he held a full shovel load. Mukai shoveled mud throughout the day, occasionally appearing exhausted when he put his hands on his waist or stretched his back.

Mukai has been heavily involved in relief efforts since the disasters of March 11, 2011.

Among the thousands of people whose lives were taken by the tsunami caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake was the father of an acquaintance in Asahi, Chiba Prefecture.

“Something outrageous has happened,” he said.

Mukai volunteered for several programs, including food delivery, in the Tohoku region.

He launched his radio show, “DJ KOUSAKU no HEARTLUCK,” on Bay FM 78 in the city of Chiba in August 2011 to keep the memories of the disaster vivid.

Since then, Mukai has interviewed more than 100 victims as well as mayors of disaster-hit municipalities in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures.