The triple catastrophe of March 11th 2011 in Northern Japan has hit a region which has been aging rapidly in the last decades. This paper asks how various agents have dealt with this particular demographic vulnerability. Avenell has claimed that the cooperation between state and civic actors was relatively smooth and efficient, especially compared to the aftermath of the Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995. However, fieldwork data suggests that this is not true when it comes to caring for the elderly, and most notably those suffering from dementia. Civic actors had a hard time trying to establish networks of help due to the inertia of official institutions. Since these civic actors are mostly small and scattered, coordination between them would have been most urgent. State institutions were by and large of no help in establishing communication between facilities in need of support and various civic actors. As a consequence, volunteers view the role of the state after 3/11 mostly negative with the Self Defense Forces being the sole exception. While Avenell’s assessment may be true for volunteer help in general, overcoming demographic vulnerability is a major task for Japan in the future. Providing adequate help and care is beyond the means of civic actors alone. The state has to intervene to make sure that help is well coordinated and that the elderly receive adequate support.