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The Great East Japan Earthquake Relief Activities [2011年03月31日(Thu)]


The Great East Japan Earthquake Relief Activities
--Dispatch of Footwarming Volunteers—

It seems that the readers have a hard time trying to understand what I am really doing.

“What is in the mind of Mr. Sasakawa? On the one hand he gives
monetary condolence for the bereaved families and for the families with missing loved ones, each \50,000 (US$ 600) totaling to \15 billion (US$ 20 million) yesterday and now he is sending foot bathing volunteers. I really don’t understand”

But my right eye is a telescope and my left eye is a microscope. It is necessary to think of both of big aid and of small aid. But in order to do this it is necessary to always be watchful, to have vigilant attention, and to have genuine consideration for others. Therefore I find no inconsistency in my work such as sending foot bathing volunteers as well as giving large sums of money for
showing our sympathies to those who are suffering.

There are so many victims in the disaster-stricken area that are shivering in the cold as there is a severe shortage of electricity, oil and gas for their heaters. Just putting their feet in warm water would warm their cold bodies and at the same time it is said that there is certain stress-relieving effect as well. The foot bathing was also very much appreciated in the past earthquakes that struck Niigata and the Noto Peninsula. The Nippon Foundation recruited 60 volunteers from our foundation, held a training session and sent them off in busses in 3 shifts from our head office.

Of course it was very much appreciated but it is somewhat of a small scale. Nevertheless we must start from what we are capable of doing.

Now I am looking for some hot-spring bath salts that come in small packets. I remember receiving as gifts sometime ago, bath salts called “Kusatsu Hotspring” and “Kirishima Hotspring”. Should anyone know the manufacturer of these products please let me know. If we can deliver hot spring bath salts with names of different famous hot springs in Japan, it would start up lively conversation and we will have happier people at our foot bathing sites.

Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 09:01 | URL | comment(0)
The Great Tohoku Earthquake Rescue and Relief [2011年03月31日(Thu)]
The Great Tohoku Earthquake Rescue and Relief
Fukushima Nuclear Plant Accident: Present Status and the Future in a Nutshell

The seriousness of the damage of the Tohoku Pacific Coast Earthquake is very real. The response of the government and Tokyo Electric Power Co. Ltd. (TEPCO), however, to the Fukushima Nuclear Plant Accident leaves much to be desired.

“There is nothing to worry for now, but as a precaution do not drink water.” The announcement from the Prime Minister’s Office which almost always include “as a precaution,” that results in increasing fear among those who have little or no knowledge of radioactivity.

The reaction among foreign residents was sensitive. Many have left Japan and the Chinese, particularly, were forced to return to their country at the repeated demand of their parents.

The writer has been involved for ten years in the rescue operation of the Chernobyl nuclear accident. Scientific data based elaborate diagnosis of the 180,000 victims are published. The report however is not easily understood by citizens at large. The largest damage is that of harmful rumor.

At the time of the Chernobyl accident, the rumor had it: “if you are going there, be sure to drink a bottle of Vodka to save or else your sperm will be destroyed.” And many believed that “woman who was exposed will be barren”.

Many rumors are had in Japan.

I would like Dr. Shunichi Yamashita from Nagasaki University with whom I have collaborated ten years in Chernobyl rescue efforts to explain in lay man’s language the correct understanding of radiation and that in relation to the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant accident to the media and the foreign embassies in Japan to contribute to the diffusion of correct information and combating irresponsible rumor.

I invite interested persons to take note of the following:

**********************************************

Symposium
—Fukushima Nuclear Plant Accident: Status and Future Prospects in a Nutshell—


Date: Tuesday, April 5, 2011 14:00-16:00
Venue: The Nippon Foundation building, 2nd Floor (Minato-ku, Tokyo)

In response to the recent nuclear accident in Fukushima, The Nippon Foundation will host a symposium with three individuals who stand at the forefront of the radiology, including Professor Shunichi Yamashita, Dean of Nagasaki University who have for 20 years been involved in the medical care of persons who have been exposed to radiation by the Chernobyl accident, and newly-appointed adviser to Fukushima Prefecture on radiation-related health risk management. Due to the lack of detailed data showing the state of dispersion of radioactive substances, inconsistent announcements of the government, wrongful knowledge and bias concerning radioactivity, the people have been confused and wrong messages have been sent abroad. The symposium will feature lectures centered on experiences of the Chernobyl disaster and the Tokai Village JCO criticality accident and the present status and future prospects of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Note:

1. Date: Tuesday, April 5, 14:00 – 16:00
2. Venue: The Nippon Foundation building, 2nd floor (1-2-2 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo)
3. Organizer: The Nippon Foundation
4. Cosponsors: Sasakawa Memorial Health Foundation, Tokyo Foundation, BHN Association, Advanced Medicine Forum (in random order)
5. Program:
14:00 Opening Statements
14:05 “Experiences gained from Chernobyl” ~Where is Fukushima headed?
    Shunichi Yamashita, (Professor, Graduate School, Nagasaki University)
14:25 “Common Knowledge and Misconception of Radioactivity”
    Kazuhiko Maekawa (Tokyo University, Professor Emeritus)
14:45 Images of “Radiation” among Japanese Public
    Reiko Kanda (Head of Special Research at the Research Center for
    Radiation Protection, National Institute of Radiological Sciences)
15:05 Q&A
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 09:00 | URL | comment(0)
The Great Tohoku Earthquake Rescue and Relief Activities [2011年03月30日(Wed)]


The Great Tohoku Earthquake Rescue and Relief Activities
--Emergency Press Briefing--

The Nippon Foundation Announces its First Rescue and Relief Measures

1. A gift of \50,000 ($600) for every missing and dead person.
2. A Maximum loan of \100,000,000 ($1,100,000) with no interest, 3 year grace period of repayment, to be paid back in 15 years.
3. Prompt payment of a maximum \1,000,000 ($110,000) for each NPO volunteer and NPO.

1. At present there are victims who are obliged to pass their days in 2,500 shelters in the earthquake and tsunami stricken areas and those who live quietly in the second floors of their mud buried homes. After eighteen days from the disaster, while their lives take different forms the rudiments of basic needs are more or less covered, lives without any concrete prospects for future are steadily eroding their stoic spirits.

I have no words to console the deep grief of the surviving families. They must be thinking of the loved ones and wanting at least to burn incense, offer flowers, sake and sweet cakes that were once their favorites in observance of our custom.

I experienced the large air raid over Tokyo on March 10, 1945 and remember how I had to make the rounds of my relatives to be fed. I recall what it was like to be without cash. With that experience behind me I decided to send a gift of \50,000 ($600) to the bereaving families for each missing and dead relative as a token of my sympathy.

As there are 29,000 missing and dead persons I will promptly deliver \1.5 billion ($16 million) to the area.

2. The situation of the fishing folks is similarly serious. I wept at the picture, aired over the media, of men of the sea having lost everything and ready to give up the attempt at comeback. The Sanriku fishing industry off the northern Honshu must not be lost.

Many of us enjoyed the rich marine products from the area and I certainly would like to see them regain their drive to return to the sea by giving them a glimmer of hope, and for all of us one day to again enjoy the fruits of their labor.

3. Volunteers and members of non-profit organizations have dropped their profession and routine jobs, bought petrol with difficulty to drive to the scene of damage and are working day and night with enormous goodwill. They have hardly received support from neither the government nor corporations.

Assuming that there are ten volunteers at every one of the 2,500 shelters, there are at least 25,000 of them supporting the victims. Without the support of the enormous number of volunteers, it is hardly possible to clean the mud that engulfed the towns, and start the first step of reconstruction. I know they receive not a cent from the government but work doggedly, and night after night grab some sleep in their sleeping bags. The Nippon Foundation wishes to provide material and spiritual support to these selfless men and women.

I hope very much that these three concrete plans of support from the Nippon Foundation will trigger collaborative moves on the part of the government and concerned parties.
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 09:00 | URL | comment(0)
The Great East Japan Earthquake Relief Activities [2011年03月29日(Tue)]
The Great East Japan Earthquake Relief Activities
--Dear Mr. Tiger Mask—

You have given children who are living in institutions, leather school satchels (“randoseru”, in Japanese) as Christmas presents. The children must have been so happy to see the beautiful big satchels and their hearts must have leapt with joy and they must have all looked forward to going to school.

In today’s world when we hear of many violent, inhumane happenings in the news, your act of humility has been reported more and more every day, and I also came to feel the virtue of Japanese people, doing good by stealth, which I have not come across for some time. I could not do as much as what you have been doing, but I also have the experience, as a student, of supporting two small children who were being brought up by a blind single parent. The memory came back to me, after 50 years, as I learned of your covert act of kindness.

I suffered from the war, and entered primary school a year later than the normal age starting school. Of course I had no leather school satchel. Knowing your background, you too, probably had to start going to school with a cotton school satchel, only dreaming and wishing you had a leather one. You must have always kept this yearning deep in your heart and now that you have money to spare, you wanted to realize your unmet dream of your childhood days by giving leather school satchels as presents to unfortunate children.

Many different presents were delivered with your name after that, but I suspect that they are all different people and that you are the only one who gave the children the leather school satchels.
Am I wrong? Eventually there were wishes coming from the recipients of the different presents, saying that if they were going to receive such kindness, they would appreciate it more if they were things that were actually needed. Of course, I am not denying voluntary act of goodwill but if the presents are what the recipients really want then the gratitude will double and even triple.

There is a kind of tacit rule in act of goodwill. The recipients also have dignity which must be respected. For example, when we are supporting the poorest of the poor children in Africa, the goods that are sent to them must be in good condition. If they are second-hand clothes they must be washed and clean.

To turn our attention to the disaster-stricken area in the northeastern and eastern Japan, relief goods must not be sent arbitrarily. These areas are in a disastrous shamble. If they receive relief goods from corporations’ arbitrary goodwill, it only creates chaos at the site, as they have shortage of labor and will not be able to receive the goods. The goods will just end up being piled up and weather-beaten. This is what I call “The Tiger Mask Phenomenon”. I was not criticizing you or the goodwill of various companies.

What I wanted to convey was that disaster relief goods must be
those that are needed by the victims or facilities and delivered to them without as speedily as possible. The experts in the area of rescue and relief work, namely the self defense forces, the police and the fire brigade are very busy with distributing whatever little food that is available to the more than 2,500 evacuation shelters, not to mention the work of restoration of water, gas and electricity, searching and recovering the bodies of the victims found dead. They are working around the clock. To send relief goods would mean that they will have to be just left unattended to in the rain and wind.

The Nippon Foundation from our past experiences of disaster relief work, know that there is a need for someone to control the traffic of goods going to the disaster-stricken area. Some might say that it is the work of the city office or the government but they are people who do not know what the site of the disaster really is.
The local administrative offices, with priority on saving lives, are busy providing the victims whatever they can to survive, searching for the injured, the dead, and the missing. In addition to that they must have full knowledge of the situation in their hands, and, like the self defense forces, the police, the fire brigade the local administrative offices staff are devotedly fulfilling their duties, while many of them are not able to even know about the safety of their very own families. Furthermore, there are local governments that have been totally washed away by the tsunami.

Essentially it should be the central government or the Japanese Red Cross Society that should be controlling the traffic of goods, but unfortunately they have no expertise. Therefore the Nippon Foundation has made a decision to act as in intermediary to connect the business circles to the site of the disaster, and we have called upon the corporate sector, through our website, CANPAN, for them to work through us. But unfortunately we were not competent enough and could only achieve very little.

I would like you to understand that What I wanted to say in my previous note concerning the “Tiger Mask Phenomenon” was to convey to the readers of the reality in the disaster-stricken area and I was not in the least criticizing you or the companies that sent goods.

I have written you quite a long letter but I wanted you to understand my true intention and now I want to ask for your helping hand.

As you know that amongst the children who have suffered this devastating disaster in the northeastern and eastern Japan, there are many whose parents are still missing, many whose leather school satchels have been carried away by the tsunami. As they start their new school year, they are spending their days in the evacuation shelters totally shattered by so much sadness and loneliness.

Mr. Tiger Mask, now is your turn.
Please give those children even a little light of happiness once more. They want leather school satchels.
I humbly pray that their dreams will be realized.
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 09:00 | URL | comment(0)
The Great East Japan Earthquake Relief Activities [2011年03月25日(Fri)]
The Great East Japan Earthquake Relief Activities

Last Friday, March 25 I was forced to rest because of high fever from a cold.

For 3 days, until Monday, I have been confined to my room, which rarely happens to me. I could not help feeling distressed thinking about the current state of things in the disaster-stricken area. I was not well enough to even look at the news on television so the only source of information was from the newspapers. Neither did I feel like reading, which is my favorite past-time.

Therefore, all I could do was roam around my room like a bear in a cage, thinking of many different things that I could do. I had no appetite, and there was nothing I was obliged to do except to take the medicine for remedy of cold that my secretary, Ms. Hoshino had sent over.

But even feeling so bad and miserable I was dying to do something. It was excruciating to be able to do nothing. Although it was the weekend, I called the directors at the Nippon Foundation and also my acquaintances who were collaborating with us and gave instructions as well as requests.

What should the Nippon Foundation be doing right now? What can the Foundation do ? Are we doing the right things and going in the right direction? How should we continue to get better cooperation etc. etc….but high fever just made my brain go in circles. I had the blessing of 3 days of rest, but it turned out 3 sleepless days.

Yet, as I continued to work on my ideas over and over again, analyze them over and over again, and finally I arrived at a very bold conclusion, at least for the Nippon Foundation

This morning, I put forth my ideas to the executive board meeting. I am hoping that we will be able to hold an emergency press conference, right away, even tomorrow, to ask the members of the media to cooperate with the implementation of our ideas.
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 09:00 | URL | comment(0)
The Great East Japan Earthquake [2011年03月24日(Thu)]
The Great East Japan Earthquake
--Dispatch of Medical Doctors---

We have cooperated with Professor .Shigeru Ohmi (the Jichi Medical School alumni and the leader of the Great East Japan Earthquake Support Project). We donated drugs and \5million (approximately $62,500) in cash.

The details are as follows:

The Current Situation
According to the information from the advance party of medical doctors to the disaster-stricken area, Sanriku-oki region in Iwate Prefecture and Kesen-numa region in Miyagi Prefecture suffered the largest and the most serious damages. There are at least 8,000 evacuees and patients in 120 evacuation shelters in the Toban region that includes Kesen-numa region. Next to these regions came Kamaishi region in Iwate Prefecture and Tome City in Miyagi Prefecture in the degree of damages, but they are also facing the same situation.

Many emergency medical teams are already in the disaster-stricken area but we cannot expect a long term stable support from them due to the nature of these teams. On the other hand although there are not too many outpatients that visit the medical support due to lack of petrol and transportation means but we expect that, over time with eventual improvement of transportation, the number of outpatients are bound to increase.

The local medical doctors and medical healthcare workers who are devotedly looking after the victims are now at the limits of their fatigue, and each region is requesting for help of more than 4 medical doctors on a long-term.

The Objective
To give medical support to mid- to small size hospitals・clinics,
physical and mental support in the disaster-stricken areas in acute stage and chronic stage now that the hyper acute stage is over.

To collaborate with the local medical doctors and to support the entire region by building a close bond with the local governments so that visits to the evacuation shelters and other places can be made possible.

The Regions assigned
The following 3 worst hit regions are the targets areas;

A. Tome region, Miyagi Prefecture ( Tome Municipal Hospital, Sanuma Hospital (Tome city), Toyosato Hospital)

B. Toban region, Iwate Prefecture and Kesen-numa region, Miyagi Prefecture. (Senmaya Iwate Prefectural Hospital, National Insurance Fujisawa Town Hospital and others)

C. Kamaishi region, Iwate Prefecture. (Iwate Prefectural Hospital).


Number of personnel required
Total of 96 medical volunteers from the Alumni Society of Jichi Medical School and others.

Acute stage: (8 weeks between March 20~May 15)
2 doctors to be dispatched to the above location on a rotation of 1 week. ( 2 medical doctors x 3 regions x 8 weeks=48 doctors)

Chronic stage: (16 weeks between May 15~September 4)
1 doctor to be dispatched to the above locations on a rotation of 1 week. (1 doctor x 3 regions x 16 weeks = 48 doctors)

*In addition to the above the Nippon Foundation has currently received requests to work as volunteers from approximately 200 doctors nationwide. We have started to take this offer into consideration.
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 09:00 | URL | comment(0)
At the Street Fund-Raising #3 [2011年03月23日(Wed)]

Fund-raising, wearing the Nippon Foundation poncho

At the Street Fund-Raising #3

The pale pink apricot blossoms are in full bloom in our garden.
As I looked out the window this morning, it was pouring with rain, as it was forecasted yesterday. How I wished it to be just a drizzling rain, but the strong rain continues to pour down cruelly on this third day of our street fund-raising. I am afraid there will not be much collected today, but I decided that we would go ahead as we had planned, thinking of the shivering victims in the disaster-stricken areas and we would be able to share even a little of their suffering.

We felt it impolite to have umbrellas when we were asking for donations, so we just wore our ponchos, as seen in the photograph.
Ginza 4-chome intersection and Mitsukoshi Department Store were very quiet as the temperature had dropped more than expected. The cold wind swept against us, and, maybe into the wallets of the passers-by as it happened to be the last day of the long weekend. Nevertheless we started our work and for the first 20 minutes only our voices asking for donations would echo in the chilly rainy skies.

Even after those 20 minutes, only coins would be dropped into the boxes and not a single note. The rain is unforgiving and it even comes into our donation boxes. Our hands are frozen and we are all starting to feel the chill creeping up our whole body starting from our soaking wet feet. I glanced into the box unintentionally, and what I saw was a one -yen coin floating in the small puddle of rain. Our young staff, yet, continue to ask for donations, their voices totally hoarse and in vain, as there is very slow reaction from the passers-by. But we continue to ask for donations with a polite deep bow.

After some time, the rain started to let up a little and one thousand-yen notes started to come into the boxes. What was comforting was that there was not a single flyer of ours that were thrown away on the pavement. One thing was certain. It seemed that everyone, those who donated, and those who did not donate were all sharing this sad tragedy.

The total amount of funds raised over the 3 days totaled to \8,301,267

I would like to express my deep appreciation to the members of our affiliated organizations for their active cooperation in the work that they are not accustomed to doing.

The names of the affiliated organizations are as follows:
Japan Motorboat Racer’s Association
Sasakawa Peace Foundation
Nippon Ginkenshibu Foundation
Japan Motorboat Racing Association
Japan Gateball Union
The Blue Sea and Green Land Foundation
The Sasakawa Sports Foundation
The Tokyo Foundation
The Japanese Foundation for thePromotion of Maritime Sciences and The Museum of Maritime Science
Marine Sports Foundation
Motorboat Racing Association
Nippon Music Foundation
Ocean Policy Research Foundation
Sasakawa Memorial Health Foundation
Japan Leisure Channel
The Japan Science Society
Tokyo BMC
Boat Race Promotion Association
The Nippon Foundation
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 09:00 | URL | comment(0)
At the Street Fund-Raising #1 [2011年03月22日(Tue)]

a little boy makes a donation

At the Street Fund-Raising #1

The Nippon Foundation has a firm conviction that “Hundred discussions are important but power to act is far more important” “Action speaks more than words”. Admittedly much discussion is important but the power of action is far more important.

Needless to say that all the staff and directors of the Nippon Foundation and all affiliates do donate, but we decided that we would go out into the streets to do our fund raising work during the long weekend. The fund-raising team, headed by Mr. Ryuji Hasegawa bestirred to create donation boxes, posters and flyers. The members of our affiliated organizations also cooperated willingly to our call.

At this stage there is little that we can do in the way of relief work but I cannot keep still. We all wanted to be of help in whatever way possible. We decided to all wear our light green poncho which is the Nippon Foundation uniform for volunteer activities, and each group were assigned different locations throughout Tokyo, to carry out our fund raising activities.
(Yurakucho, Ginza, Omote Sando, Shinjuku, Shibuya, Akasaka, Shinbashi, Kichijoji, Harajuku, and Nakano

I was assigned a place in front of the Mitsukoshi Department Store in Ginza 4-chome intersection. Together with the motor boat racers we sweated under the strong sun, at what we were not accustomed to doing normally.
After arriving home that evening, I received a report that we had collected a total of \3,368,771 that day.
Mentally retarded children from an NPO [OTONA NO SEKAI] also joined for the street fund raising, in Harajuku, collecting a total of \315,154. The Saitama Chapter of the BOAT RACE went in front of the Toda Koen Station and the Fukuoka Chapter carried out their fund-raising activity locally and they have made donations to the Nippon Foundation of \348,417 and \261,328 respectively.
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 09:00 | URL | comment(0)
Heartwarming Twitters from the Websites # 3 [2011年03月18日(Fri)]
Heartwarming Twitters from the Websites # 3
(from the day of the earthquake)

My father:
I was touched when I went downstairs and told my father that Chubu (west of Kanto region) Electric Power Company had started power transmission to the Kanto area, he stood up without saying a word, disconnected the television and stoves from the wall socket, to help save electricity.

Japanese people form queues:
Japanese are terrific ! Even now (with disrupted train services) they form an orderly queue to await the coming local train… tears. Watching from above the Yurakucho station (near the Ginza)

Bakery:
Last night, as I was walking home from my university, I passed by a bakery which had closed hours before. But the lady owner was there giving free bread to passers-by. Very touched to find someone who is contributing in whatever way possible at this time of terrible confusion and disaster after the earthquake. Tokyo still has so much to give.

Japan is terrific:
Japan is terrific. Bureaucrats and the citizens and all. Everyone is trying to help. The truck-drivers are helping transport goods voluntarily…I heard that the Yakuzas (gangster group)are helping control traffic too…We’ve had things happen that we could not be proud of in Japan recently, but it’s not true. Japan is a terrific country. I am genuinely moved. Let’s all work together for our country !

In Gotemba:
Japan is just great. Yesterday, Gotemba city(west of Tokyo, near Mt.Fuji) was without traffic lights anywhere but the drivers were giving way to others, the local elderly people, men and women were helping control traffic with hand signals.. there was no confusion anywhere. That was impressive. Everybody yielded to each other even those who had been driving for 9 hours and exhausted.

Everybody:
I spoke to the cab-driver, station staff, cleaning lady… they were all exhausted working late into the evening, unable to go home, but no one was irritated; they were all polite and even cared for us. They said “we are all suffering at this time ”. The words “we are all “ impressed me. It is a culture that I want to treasure and covey to all.

All doors left open:
Last night I decided to walk home as all the public transportation had been interrupted. I headed west toward the Koshu Kaido (Route 20). It must have been around 9 PM there was an office that had opened its doors for people to use, to rest their tired feet or to use the toilet, and the staff of this company shouting in a large voice to let the people know of their services. I was so touched I near burst into tears. No I was so tensed up yesterday that I could not even cry, but I am in tears now remembering what I saw last night.
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 09:00 | URL | comment(0)
Heartwarming Twitters from the Website #2 [2011年03月17日(Thu)]
Heartwarming Twitters from the Website #2
(from the day of the earthquake)

I can buy a video game any time:
I saw a young man with hair dyed blonde and pierced ears put in several ten thousand yen notes into a relief fund collection box. Several nearby people including me heard him say to his friend “I can buy a video game any time.” This prompted us to contribute to the relief fund. I realized that you couldn’t judge a person by his/her appearance. It was a very moving and memorable lunch time.

Subway station attendant:
I said to a subway station attendant that it must be hard on him to work all night. (Subway lines which resumed operation after the earthquake ran all night to transport stranded people.)
He responded with a smile “It’s OK at a time like this.” I was really moved by his response. Life isn’t bad after all.

Middle-aged man:
My husband came home by walking four hours last night.(Most public transportation stopped running in Tokyo after the earthquake and many walked home.)
When he reached Akabane he was totally dispirited. But, his spirit was uplifted by a middle-aged man who was giving out free coffee shouting, “You must feel terrible in this cold weather. Have hot coffee.” My husband told me that he was able to make it back to home thanks to this coffee. He repeated this story five times. He must have been really grateful. Thank you Mr. Coffee man.

Blood donation station:
Japan is strongly united. The blood donation station in Nanba, Osaka had a long line of people waiting to donate blood for the earthquake and tsunami devastated people. I saw a line of people without self-interest for the first time. I was much moved. Hang in there and don’t lose heart, the people in the affected areas! Everyone in Japan is sharing and feeling your hardship.

Shelter:
My daughter told me that on her way to the shelter many people who were total strangers were telling each other the way to the shelter. She was moved by the compassion of people whom she used to think as cold to others. Her story reminded me of the strength of the solidarity of the Japanese people at a time of a severe crisis. There is much hope for Japan.

Offering assistance:
I walked many hours, and all along the way there were office buildings and restaurants with signs like “toilet is available” and “you can rest here.” There were volunteers from a corporation building telling those walking home “such and such line resumed operation,” “You can rest here.” etc. I was so moved that I almost became teary-eyed. Japan is OK after all.

On a subway platform:
Oedo-line trains going towards Hikarigaoka were very crowded. There was a sea of people on the platform outside the ticket gates all waiting for trains. But, not a single person was trying to get ahead of a line of people, and there was space for a passageway. They were all guided by the station staff. A roped passageway wasn’t necessary. This almost unreal sensation of pleasantness really moved me.

A German friend:
A German friend of mine was in Shibuya when the earthquake occurred, and he panicked. But he was helped by Japanese who were strangers to him. He was very much impressed by the dauntlessness and orderliness of the Japanese people who went out of the shop and did what needed doing. He said they were like soldiers in the army.
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 09:00 | URL | comment(0)
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