Friday 29th March
Japan Foundation, London
The Japan Foundation is pleased to present this special public seminar to mark the two year anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake.
Dr Simon Avenell (Australian National University) will examine the role played by volunteers following the triple disaster. In particular, he will trace the evolution of disaster volunteering since the Kobe Earthquake of 1995, looking closely at the ways state and civic organizations have helped to build a robust and responsive disaster volunteer infrastructure. Avenell will explain how, despite the substantial differences in scale and logistical complexity of the 2011 disaster compared to other recent natural calamities in Japan, evidence suggests that the volunteering experience of Kobe, coupled with intervening disaster preparation, proved crucial for government officials and civic activists who cooperated to organize a swift and efficient volunteering response after 3.11.
Following this, architect Dr Osamu Tsukihashi (Kobe University) will introduce his Lost Homes Project – an initiative through which local communities in the affected areas collected and recorded memories of places lost to the tsunami so that they may be passed on to the next generation. Tsukihashi will explain how people’s memories give towns a special sense of place, and that it is this sense of place living on through memory that has become a source of psychological support to those in the affected areas. Tsukihashi will show how the act of recording and passing on memories of places destroyed by the tsunami is an indispensable part of the process of creating new living environments in the disaster area.
This event will be chaired by Dr Geoff O’Brien from the Disaster and Development Centre, Northumbria University.
Following the formal proceedings, refreshments will be served including two varieties of Urakasumi – a famous Japanese sake from the Tohoku region.
This event is free but prior booking is essential. To reserve a place, please contact email@example.com with your name, details and those of any guests.
Film event and panel discussion at SOAS. Time: 14:00 – 16:00 + networking time from 16:00-16:45. Date: Sun, 11 November 2012
A one day film and talk event attended by Governor of Miyagi Yoshihiro Murai, the prefecture in Japan hit hardest by the 2011 tsunami and earthquake, will be held in London at SOAS reflecting on the events of 2011 and to look at how lives are being rebuilt for those affected by the disaster. The day will include a screening of the documentary film The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom (38min) / 2012 Academy Award-nominated documentary (Short Subject), directed by British documentary maker Lucy Walker, filmed in the immediate aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami which happened on 11 March 2012. The film portrays how the “Survivors in the areas hardest hit by Japan’s recent tsunami find the courage to revive and rebuild as cherry blossom season begins. A stunning visual poem about the ephemeral nature of life and the healing power of Japan’s most beloved flower…”
The screening will then be followed by a talk given by Governor of Miyagi Yoshihiro Murai, and a panel discussion with the aim of raising awareness of the fast-changing needs of the support for recovery in the disaster hit area. There will also be discussion of the role of the British volunteer activities in the recovery plan and how to facilitate supporting charitable activities. It will be followed a networking event after the panel discussion, with the opportunity to sample sake from Tohoku. The event schedule can be found here, as can the entry form for attendance.
As an expression of deep gratitude and appreciation of the UK’s support following the 3/11 disaster in Japan, the Fukushima Garden designed by famed Kyoto landscape gardener Yasuo Kitayama, has been opened in Holland Park.
The Fukushima Garden opened on 24 July to commemorate the deep gratitude of the Japanese people to the British people for their support following the natural disaster that struck Fukushima, Japan on 11 March 2011. Representatives of the Fukushima Prefectural Government attended the opening of the garden, which is maintained by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
For more information, please visit the Embassy of Japan’s website.
GREAT campaign launch in Tokyo today
On the occasion of the British Prime Minister David Cameron’s visit to Japan this week, the governments of the UK and Japan have issued a Joint Statement setting out the terms and ambitions of the future relationship between the two:
As the Prime Ministers of Japan and the UK, we are committed to promoting global prosperity and security, based on the shared values of democracy, the rule of law, human rights and the market economy. We also have a shared responsibility to meet the global challenges of the 21st century. We reconfirm the distinctive importance of the leading strategic partnership that exists between the UK and Japan. Japan and the UK are each other’s most important partners in Asia and Europe, respectively.
We commend the resilience of the Japanese people after the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of 11 March 2011 and subsequent nuclear accident. The strength demonstrated by the people of Japan in the face of such hardship gives both leaders confidence in Japan’s renewal through reconstruction, and that Japan will continue to contribute as strongly as ever to international prosperity and security. Japan appreciates the support and solidarity extended by the British people, companies and Government in recovering from the tragic events. The UK appreciates Japan’s hosting of the High-Level International Conference on Large-Scale Natural Disasters in July in the disaster-stricken Tohoku area.
Recognising the importance of ties among the people of both countries, we reaffirm the valuable contribution which the JET programme and the Youth Mobility Scheme have been making to our bilateral relationship. We will cooperate to increase the number of students going in both directions through such schemes as a new one managed by the British Council, which will enhance research collaboration, mobility and skills among universities in the UK and Japan. We renew our support for “the Japan-UK 21st Century Group,” an important annual forum consisting of prominent people in a range of fields.
We hope that the London Olympic and Paralympic Games will be a great success, serving as an excellent opportunity to further deepen the bonds between Japan and the UK. Hosting the Olympics is an opportunity to realise sporting hopes and dreams and the UK wishes Tokyo well in its bid to host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
You can read the statement in full here (Prime Minister of Japan website).
Last week the Destination Tohoku campaign commenced as the tourism promotion vehicle for the region affected by the 3/11 earthquake and tsunami, with the hope of local authorities and the region’s tourism industry that such efforts can lure visitors back to the disaster-hit region as part of its recovery.
The ¥800m campaign, which runs through to the end of March 2013, aims to showcase the abundant riches of local charms such as hot springs, festivals, shopping, local food, cherry blossoms, and secure the support of domestic tourism also, for instance from school excursions and business events.
The campaign divides the Tohoku region into 28 tourism zones, including Hirosaki in Aomori Prefecture, Hanamaki/Tono in Iwate Prefecture, Matsushima in Miyagi Prefecture, Shonai in Yamagata Prefecture, and Fukushima, with the northernmost zone as Shimokita, Aomori Prefecture, and the southernmost Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture. Visitors are welcomed on arrival in each zone, often near to JR stations, and given all relevant information and assistance required. They are also encouraged to visit as many zones as possible via a Tohoku Passport, which not only provides discounts in selected attractions but also acts as rewards system with gifts.
As well as hopefully stimulating the regional economy, the Destination Tohoku campaign is also viewed by the Japan Tourism Agency as a means to gather much-needed data on visitor perceptions and footfall, which can then be used to both enhance the visitor experience and work up future strategies for tourism promotion throughout the rest of the country.
You can visit the official site for more information.
The Government of Japan has been holding various events and festivals all over the world since December 2011 as part of JAPAN NEXT campaign, which will take place through March. The campaign is designed to express Japan’s gratitude to the world for its support for the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11 2011 (3/11) and showcase Japan’s recovery through introduction of Japan’s proud culture and technology which are often referred to as ’Cool Japan.’
In the UK, two events will be held as part of JAPAN NEXT campaign from 14 to 18 March 2012 in London, showing Japan’s gratitude and introducing the appeal of Japanese food. Events will have a theme of ‘ARIGATO’, the Japanese expression for ‘thank you’.
From 14 to 18 March will be “Tasting JAPAN WEEK” to offer a Tasting Japan experience at Westfield Stratford City, with Japanese food and Japanese alcohol. The IBA World Cocktail Champion Takafumi Yamada will be on hand to create delicious concoctions, including ‘Great Sunrise’ for which he won the World Cocktail of the Year with hope for Japan’s recovery from 3/11 and a specially created cocktail ‘ARIGATO’ for ‘thanking’ the world for its support following last March. Arranged Japanese food will also be on offer for tasting, to show how easily Japanese food can be cooked at home and introduce the sensitivity of taste and the art of cuisine.
As part of the annual St Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival on Sunday 18 March, Japanese performers including Maikos, Geisha and Japanese traditional instrument performers, as well as Japanese nationals living in the UK from Wakayanagi school of Japanese dancing dressed in traditional Kimonos will take part in the ARIGATO parade.
There will also be an ARIGATO stall at the Trafalgar Square festival displaying panels and videos to thank the world for its support to Japan following the devastating earthquake and tsunami, and to introduce the appeal of Japanese food, products and traditional culture.
Tasting JAPAN WEEK (Gallery North, Westfield Stratford City) will take place 14-18 March, at the following times:
- 14-17 March: 11.00 to 19.00
- 18 March: 12.00 to 18.00
The central London ARIGATO Parade on 18 March 2012 starts at noon and will last for two hours, while the ARIGATO stall in Trafalgar Square will be open noon-8pm.
It has been almost one year since the East Japan earthquake. As rebuilding goes on life goes on in Fukushima Prefecture, details of which can be read in the Fukushima International Association’s GYRO newsletter, here, with news on Chinese New Year events in the area, as well as snowboarding and the Shinobu Sanzan Akimairi Festival.
Also in the newsletter are the accounts of people living in the prefecture and their experience of life after the earthquake, tsunami and the incident at Fukushima Dai-ichi.
CLAIR supports the publishing of the newsletter.
Fukushima and Iwate Prefectures have published new details on efforts to recover from the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 2011. The newsletter for Fukushima Prefecture can be downloaded here, and Iwate Prefecture’s newsletters can be downloaded here and here.
Iwate and Fukushima Prefectures’ International Divisions have published English language versions of their post earthquake and tsunami recovery updates, detailing local government projects helping communities in the affected areas, rebuilding public facilities and infrastructure, and highlighting some of the natural beauty attractions in Tohoku which are still very much open to tourists.
There are also personal testimonies from people who survived the earthquake and tsunami. The updates from Iwate Prefecture can be seen here and here, and from Fukushima Prefecture here.
With the recovery under way in Tohoku, seven months after the Great North East Earthquake, Iwate Prefecture is sending out regular English updates on reconstruction and rebuilding of communities in the region.
Information on donating, communities and the current conditions can be found here and here.