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Yohei Sasakawa
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Salary man Senryu** [2011年04月28日(Thu)]
Salary man Senryu**

I have given myself a little time away from my daily work and selected a few outstanding (maybe?) poems that made me chuckle from the [Salary men Senryu Contest] sponsored by the Dai-ichi Life-insurance Co., Ltd..

The salary men of Japan, who are the hardest working people and who have supported the high economic growth period of Japan are now reaching the age of retirement. Therefore they are no longer the most diligent workers but, on the contrary, they are people who enjoy living in a country with the most number of national holidays.

But I have never heard of a country where the dates of national holidays that are already established by the government are changed by the legislation for conveniently creating more long-weekends.

Examples of such changes are the [Marine Day] from July 20th to the third Monday of July and [Greenery Day] from April 29th to May 4th to fill in one more holiday in between two already observed national holidays, May 3rd. and 5th..The result is that the very significance of these special days is lost. It is nothing but an obvious show on the part of the politicians selling their favors with the people.

Salary men that commute by train, packed like sardines for more than two hours each way, day after day, is a sight unique to Japan and long known to the world. I feel a touch of pathos in such a sight yet I would like to sincerely applaud the corporate warriors of Japan, who nevertheless continue to devote themselves to their work.

1. Paying tax risking your life, Mr. Smoker?
2. Moistening finger-tips to turn pages on iPad.
3. What never rises at age fifty; salary, position and stiff, painful shoulders.
4. How I long to bundle together my hair and subordinates.
5. Finally introducing my wife, a well-featured lady, but oh! so expensive.
6. Child care finished, now parent care..
7. Romantic heartbeat when young, arrhythmia after forty.
8. Searching for a mission, changes jobs, now jobless.
9. “Want dinner tonight?”comes an email from my wife sitting next to me.
10. Boss blowing his trumpet, I cleaning his trumpet.
11. “Do as you like” used to be love, now indifference.
12. Remote controller no good for lowering wife’s voice
13. Need to pay for wife’s education not the son’s.
14. Hierarchical ranking even at a pub, drinking.
15. “You’re home early!” grumbles a girl playing house.
16. How nice it would be to choose a boss by draft system.
17. The first praise given me at farewell party.

**Senryu are short poems that became popular around the middle of the Edo period. There are no regulations on kigo or kireji (exclamatory words), and are composed in colloquial language. They capture the amusing and ironic in human foibles, the times, and popular culture. These senryu must be written about things that occur in the home or workplace, and many of the poems are poignant reflections of the times.

Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 09:00 | URL | comment(0)
What I want to say to the Chinese people [2011年04月27日(Wed)]

Ten Continuous Years of Japan-China Defense Exchange

What I want to say to the Chinese people

The above is a translation of an Editor’s Interview in the May 2011 issue of the magazine “Rekishi-tsu” (Connoisseur of History). If you are interested, please read my book ”What I would like to say to my Chinese neighbors”, published by PHP, \1,600.

You say ‘consider history as a mirror and a lesson’, and you are right—therefore, I say, let’s not just learn from a part of modern contemporary history but from the 2000 years of history when we got along well as good friends.—That’s what I am saying (smiles).

Even intellectuals are ignorant about Japan

Rekishi-tsu: Most of the Japanese writings on Chinese Discourse usually contain some sort of hidden excuses. Your book, “What I Want to Say to My Chinese Neighbors”, however, is extremely straightforward. There is no reserve, a model, if you will, of how things ought to be said. Reading your speech at Nanjing University, you were very straightforward in what you had to say. Why don’t Japanese politicians say things the way you do (smile)? At the same time, I was rather concerned about how the Chinese reacted to your saying, “The Chinese economy developed with Japan’s cooperation”. How was that?

Sasakawa: They simply “did not know the facts”. They did not know that Japan called on the members of the G7 after the Tiananmen Square Incident to suspend economic sanctions, or that Japan was the first country to offer loans, yen-denominated loans. These facts are simply not known since the Chinese people only get news released by the Communist Party. In fact, they hardly know the real Japan.

RT: I suppose that applies to ordinary people?

Sasakawa: Not just them, intellectuals as well. Their understanding has not gone beyond Ruth Benedict’s “Chrysanthemum and the Sword” written in 1945. The Chinese people do not know life-size Japanese; this must be clearly understood. I have been telling them more recently that the present Chinese Communist Party may well owe its existence to Japan. The books on Marx and Lenin and many other Russian books were all translated into Chinese from the Japanese language. There is unlikely to be any Communist literature translated into Chinese directly from Russian. “You learned it all from Japan.” They all look at me in puzzlement, including the scholars. Those who have been to Japan are different. Even a single visit to Japan will make them realize that what they have studied and learned, and the information they have differs from reality and changes their views. It is essential to promote personal exchanges, including tourism.

RT: The Nippon Foundation supports exchanges in very many fields. I believe there was one between Japan’s Self Defense Force officials and the People’s Liberation Army men. How did this come about?

Sasakawa: We began inviting Chinese national leaders, leaders of different government ministries, the media and women’s representatives from way back when China was still poor. There must have been at least 10,000. Meanwhile, I realized that no one had sponsored exchanges of military personnel. Military men, I believe, basically hate war, and this applies to all countries. After all, it is all about being killed. So, I started the exchange in 2001 as a ten-year program.

At first, both Japan and China objected (chuckles). During that period, issues arose including Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s visit to Yasukuni Shrine, intrusion of a Chinese submarine into Japanese territorial waters, and school textbooks. In spite of all that we continued the program. At the very last stage, in the 9th inning in a baseball game as it were, the Chinese side proposed postponing the program.

RT: Is that because of the issue of the violation of our territorial waters around the Senkaku islands?

Sasakawa: Yes. I replied, “I will not accept postponement. Since the very beginning, our program had fixed schedules and there had not been a single postponement.” “Please do not discontinue the program, just postpone it,” they retorted. “We are paying for it,” I told them, “so you have no right to say that,” and I cancelled the program.

RT: That is the kind of resoluteness and firm attitude that the Japanese government should be taking (smiles). Was there any good outcome from the program?

Sasakawa: I believe so, yes. Most Japanese Defense Force officials had not been to China, and even less the Chinese to Japan. The impact, I believe, was bigger on the Chinese side than the Japanese. The simple Chinese soldiers were shocked to find a very different Japan from what they had studied. The image of Japan learned in their schools was, “Japan is marching towards becoming a military power”. They encountered realities one after another that contradicted what they had been led to believe.

In their earlier visits we had them invited to a sukiyaki party at the home of the Chairman of the Joint Staff Council. His wife chopped vegetables in the kitchen and our host poured soup in the sukiyaki pot.

RT: That was a real sukiyaki home party?

Sasakawa: Yes, at no less than the home of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. His home as well as the property was modest. Compare that with Chinese generals who lived in big houses, were provided with two or three cars, and a driver, a cook and a maid and even a secretary to serve them exclusively in their homes.

RT: That must have given them a culture shock?

Sasakawa: And our visitors saw no men in uniform in the towns.

RT: They must have wondered, “Where was the evidence of Japan becoming a military power?”

Sasakawa: It must have taken them a while to get used to that. Every year twenty of them went through this experience. We invited twenty each year from China and sent ten there from Japan. Just to share with you a humorous case, there is a stridently anti-Japanese newspaper of the People’s Liberation Army called “The Liberation Army Bulletin”. A man from that newspaper came to Japan and told us before he returned home, “I was able to see Japan life-size. I am aware of the large difference between the Japan I saw and the one I had written about in the past.” Later, thinking that the future of China depended on knowing its neighbor Japan, he tried to persuade his daughter, “Go and see Japan. I will pay your travel expenses.” We learned that his daughter apparently teased him: “You mean, father, you are giving up your anti-Japanese views after only a two-week trip (laughs)?”

RT: So, he was brainwashed by your warmest possible hospitality?! (smiles)

Sasakawa: Today, I hear voices from both Japan and China saying they want the program to resume. There is no country without internal conflicts. Well, that aside, this is all about an exchange initiated by the private sector. If the basic significance of this is reconfirmed by the parties, I am ready to resume it.

What was their Reaction on” Yasukuni”?

RT: I learn that a visit to Yasukuni Shrine is part of your exchange program. What sort of feedback have you received?

Sasakawa: The University of Beijing students asked where the graves were? We explained they were in the home towns of the dead. They then wanted to know what was in the sanctuary, the main building of the shrine.

RT: They don’t understand the concept of a Shinto shrine?

Sasakawa: They probably were not able to. As you know, since ancient times when the Chinese adopted the idea that dynastic changes occur when new leaders receive a mandate from heaven to replace those who had lost their virtue to govern, it is accepted that everything about the previous government is evil. Therefore, to prove loyalty to the new regime, the graves of the past leaders have to be destroyed. From that general way of thinking, it follows that those who pay their respects at the Yasukuni Shrine must empathize with the leaders of Japan’s militarism. Anyone who is against their ideology must therefore destroy their graves. That said, however, paying respects at the Shrine did not become a political issue for a long time after the war. It became one when in order to protect the political base of Secretary General Hu Yao-bang of the Chinese Communist Party former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone submitted to a diplomatic decision to stop paying his respects to the shrine. Japan would do well to explain our culture clearly to others.

RT: China often resorts to saying things for self-serving purpose, based on bitterness or from political motives. And there is little understanding of the real Japan.

Sasakawa: There is a very simple reason. The raison d’etre of the Chinese Communist Party rests on its victory in the war against Japan. So they resort to all sorts of ways to justify the Party’s legitimacy to the Chinese people. Since most of them have little information they just have to believe what the Party tells them, and that’s how it is.

Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 09:00 | URL | comment(0)
The Great Tohoku Earthquake Rescue and Relief Activities [2011年04月20日(Wed)]

The Great Tohoku Earthquake Rescue and Relief Activities
--Emergency Press Briefing 2--

The Nippon Foundation Announces its Second Rescue and Relief Measures

Joint Support Project linking the victims and NPO, acronym “Tsuna-pro” initiated on March 14 have spent 3 weeks beginning March 28 to assess the situation in 600 shelters in Miyagi prefecture with a total of 400 people participating. The results have already been published in my blog of April 18.

Miyagi prefecture operated 1200 shelters at its peak. It is now down to 500. And persons who took refuge have also declined from 300,000 to a little over 50,000. However, the meals they have and sanitary environment and installations are not adequate.

Forty days after the disaster, victimized citizens are dispersing, some returning to their homes, staying with relatives, friends and acquaintances. With ever shifting circumstances, the Nippon Foundation tries to learn how we can best be helpful even in a limited way.

The following is the Second relief and rescue measures announced today at the press briefing.

First, while many disaster stricken persons have returned to their homes, having lost their TV sets and radio, we now know that they are isolated with little information to support their lives. The condolence money the Nippon Foundation is handing out to the surviving members of the family has only covered 50% of the victims even in Ishinomaki city despite our earnest efforts. This can only mean one thing; that information does not reach people who need it. And that includes information regarding their day to day living, including where they can take a bath, receive hot meals, and where clothes and food are distributed.

We therefore decided to set up during the next 4 months 16 ad hoc disaster broadcasting stations, including 5 stations that are switched over from Mini FM stations and 11 new stations with \112,500,000 for their establishment and operation. It was learned that radios to broadcast disaster information are almost completely missing. Given that it is difficult in Japan to purchase devices from SONY or Panasonic, we placed an order of 100,000 units to China. We expect the first batch of 10,000 to arrive on April 27. Radio costs \900 a set. We expect all 100,000 sets to arrive by the end of the first week of May (long holidays in May).

I rather think that this should be the responsibility of the government’s Disaster Measures Headquarters, but this is no time to complain. Our disaster relief commitment is to provide as fast as possible what people in need want when they need it. So we hold no grudge against the government.

Second, is the dispatch of paid volunteer doctors, nurses and caregivers. We came to know that persons at home who are in need of care, medical care for seriously ill as well as mental care have hardly had any care given. To begin with we sent three teams with 8-man teams making thorough rounds in the vicinity of Ishinomaki city. We would like to expand the number of these medical teams.

At one shelter, the medical group set up a temporary tent outside the shelter, provided services from 9 to 16pm, with Saturday and Sunday off. Those who were able to bring themselves to temporary medical tent could not receive the needed medical services because of the limited time. This is a shocking reality.

Third, it is assumed that there are some 5000 to 6000 pregnant women in the stricken areas. We received reports of expectant mothers who vomit blood from stress-caused gastritis. This kind of stomach inflammation is rare today in urban areas. My heart goes out to those expectant mothers who may not always have someone to turn to. I have asked the collaboration of the Tokyo Midwives Association to provide at least 10 per cent of expectant mothers safe places of delivery in Tokyo.

Fourth, we decided to mobilize and support a total of 200,000 men and women including student and citizen volunteers, NPO support activities, medical and nursing services, some volunteer and some paid activities to the end of December this year.

I am grateful for the 32 journalists from 29 media companies for coming to our press briefing. Their presence is encouraging in carrying out our support activities.

Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 09:00 | URL | comment(0)
The Great East Japan Earthquake Relief Activities [2011年04月19日(Tue)]

The flags of 33 universities lined the wall at the ceremony

The Great East Japan Earthquake Relief Activities
Address at the Student Volunteer Send-Off Ceremony (summary)

April 15, 2011
The Nippon Foundation Building, 2F

The Nippon Foundation is an organization involved in international humanitarian activities. Each year, a third of my time is spent working in developing countries. After the Great East Japan Earthquake, I have suspended all overseas activities for now to concentrate my efforts in the restoration of the disaster-stricken areas.

Japan Self-Defense Forces members, the police, and firefighters played a main role in rescuing lives immediately after the earthquake and tsunami and in the subsequent search for victims and those missing. A month has now passed since the earthquake. To return to life that is normal, the evacuees are gradually beginning to leave the evacuation shelters and to return to their homes. This is the time where volunteer activities are needed to provide attentive assistance to individual evacuees in proximity with them.

Today, many students have gathered here with the fervent hope of going to the disaster-hit areas to help those affected by the disaster. I would like to sincerely express my respect for your honorable volunteer spirit.

You represent the future of this nation, and I firmly believe that your activities in the disaster-stricken areas will become a valuable experience for you. I would also like to sincerely thank those of you from abroad studying in Japan for strengthening solidarity with Japan.

There are rich and poor nations in the world. There are developed countries and developing countries. Donations and aid money have come from all of those countries to support Japan. I think it is truly wonderful that solidarity on a global scale has come out of this disaster.

I ask the Japanese students, students from abroad, and many others to go to the disaster-stricken areas, work hard in helping the victims restore their lives, and encourage them. Your activities in the areas will give you an opportunity to think about many things, such as what is the meaning of life, what is progress in science and technology, what is nature, and how should science and technology coexist with nature. In addition to working in the stricken areas, I hope you will make this a wonderful opportunity to benefit your own lives.

On the other hand, your work may at times be hazardous. I ask you to work carefully and not to overextend yourselves. It is important that you take rest if you are not feeling too well.

The Nippon Foundation will continue to provide assistance for your work in the disaster-hit areas. By letting your friends, acquaintances, and other students and young people around the country know about your activities, you can increase solidarity with the victims and help in the restoration of the affected areas. Again, I would like to sincerely express my appreciation for your honorable spirit.
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 09:00 | URL | comment(0)
The Great East Japan Earthquake Relief Activities [2011年04月18日(Mon)]
The Great East Japan Earthquake Relief Activities
Activities of Tsuna Pro

Tsuna Pro, a shortened form for the Project for Supporting Disaster Victims through Networking with NPOs, was founded on March 14 after the earthquake and tsunami disaster as a network of NPOs in Sendai, Tokyo, Kansai, and other parts of Japan.

Tsuna Pro dispatched a total of 400 volunteers to Miyagi Prefecture, spending 3 weeks visiting some 600 evacuation shelters, starting from March 28, and assessing the situation in the evacuation shelters.

To address the emerging issues of nursing care, healthcare, and care for people with disability, non-Japanese victims, and patients of rare diseases locally, the project is making efforts to match NPOs with specific expertise with people in need of the expertise.

As the project’s managing organization, The Nippon Foundation is cooperating in being a part of the solution. While the situation in the evacuation centers is changing from one day to the next, I report on the results of our assessment and analysis as of April 10, as shown below.

1. Meals
* Improvement is being made through handing out of cooked foods and arrival of relief, but servings of meat, fish and vegetables are negligible at 1.2 meals a day on average. They continue to subsist on a diet composed mainly of bread, rice balls, and instant noodles.
* Progress has not been made in the preparation of foods for the elderly, diabetes patients, and people with allergies, and in the supply of powdered milk.
* Evacuation shelters without supply of meat, fish and vegetables are often characterized by lack of information, especially with shelters not officially designated as evacuation shelters, and by unavailability or partial availability of utilities.

2. Healthcare and sanitation
* The risk of mass infection of influenza and norovirus is rising. The lack of partitions in the living space and poor sanitary conditions appear to be the causes.
* The conditions of the toilet depend on the water supply and drainage. In areas where the sewerage has not recovered, the waste matter is collected only 2.1 times a week, creating poor sanitary conditions.
* In terms of toilet use by the elderly and people with difficulty walking, 64% of the evacuation shelters have problems meeting those needs.

3. Facilities
* Only slightly more than 20% of all evacuation shelters have partitions and changing rooms, raising privacy concerns. As about 30% of the shelters do not even have television or telephone, access to information needs to be improved.

4. Elderly and people in need of nursing care
* The percentage of the elderly (65 and over) per evacuation shelter rose slightly from 34% at last week’s count to 36% this week.
* People requiring nursing care can be found in 38% of all evacuation shelters. The percentage of evacuation shelters with five or more people requiring nursing care is 5.5%.
* Of the evacuation shelters with five or more people requiring nursing care, special considerations are given in terms of meals and so on, if the shelters were originally nursing homes. In other facilities, such as schools, the care is not sufficient.

5. Children
* Only 7.5% of evacuees are under 18 years of age. However, only 9% of the evacuation shelters have space for mothers and infants and only 12% have a supply of powdered milk. Improvements are needed in these areas.

6. Non-Japanese evacuees
* After two weeks’ survey, 108 non-Japanese evacuees have been identified at 21 evacuation shelters. Many of them are Chinese.

The above assessment revealed that the conditions of the toilet and the availability of powdered milk at only 12% of the evacuation shelters were of particular concern. To address these problems as quickly as possible, The Nippon Foundation requested the help of the NPO Chek (headed by Representative Director Kenji Kaneko) for the use of Nihon Safety Company’s “Wrappon,” an automatic toilet that disposes waste matter without the use of water. For the powdered milk, we requested the cooperation of Mama-Mo Entertainment.
“Stand for mothers”

To help mothers and children suffering from the Great East Japan Earthquake, a network of young mothers with children from around the country, such as the I Love Mama magazine, mothers working as fashion models, and companies working with mothers is collecting and sending relief goods, with their sympathies and love, that mothers in the stricken areas need the most. This blog will also report on their efforts.

Jichi Medical University alumni project for dispatching physicians to the disaster-hit areas reported many patients vomiting blood from stress-induced gastric ulcers, which is rarely seen today. With the prolongation of evacuation, their report pointed out the importance of implementing measures against geriatric tuberculosis and infections. It concurred with Tsuna Pro’s assessment that improvement in sanitation and environment was urgently needed.

Needless to say, our assessment will need to be expanded to Iwate and Fukushima prefectures as soon as possible.

Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 09:00 | URL | comment(0)
The Great East Japan Earthquake Relief Activities [2011年04月15日(Fri)]

The Great East Japan Earthquake Relief Activities
A Big Gift from Daimler AG

On March 22nd, Daimler AG made the following announcement at their Shareholders’ Meeting regarding the implementation of their relief and aid policy on behalf of survivors of the Great East Japan Earthquake.

[Donation and Gift to The Nippon Foundation]

Cash: 2 million Euros

8 new type off-road ZETRO trucks
4 multi-purpose UNIMOG vehicles
8 off-road G-CLASS trucks
30 Mitsubishi Fuso trucks and buses

Converting the cost of the 50 vehicles listed above to yen, the gift would total approximately \480 million. Adding the 2 million Euros (\260 million) in cash would mean that The Nippon Foundation is receiving from Daimler AG a huge gift equivalent to approximately \740 million.

We will make the utmost of this gift in our relief work in the disaster-stricken area, with transparency and accountability, in order to respond fully to the expectations of Daimler AG.

From what I understand, Daimler AG has made a thorough investigation as to the most appropriate organization or group to carry out their relief activity and arrived at the decision to choose The Nippon Foundation. We are truly grateful for their generosity

This morning at 6:30 a.m. the world’s largest Russian-made Antonov cargo aircraft arrived at Narita Airport from Germany, and I attended the handover ceremony of the gifts.

As I watched the Antonov land, my thoughts went back to the time when we had been requested by President Gorbachev to help with the relief and aid work in the aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear accident. We had asked President Gorbachev if he would allow us the use of an Antonov cargo plane to transport our gifts to Russia of the world’s latest state-of-the-art medical equipment in which Japan took great pride, together with six buses for mobile diagnostic work. The aircraft accomplished its mission safely and we held a handover ceremony in Red Square.

Now it was our turn, and I welcomed the Antonov with mixed emotions.

I imagine that Daimler’s decision to make this large donation to The Nippon Foundation was considerably influenced by the statement “Solidarity with Japan” issued to the international community by many famous figures including the former president of the Czech Republic Vaclav Havel, Bishop Desmond Tutu, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and the former president of the Federal Republic of Germany Richard von Weizsäker, which called for “donations to be made to a reliable organization, The Nippon Foundation”. However, more than anything, the efforts made from the very beginning by Mr. Keisuke Egashira, the former CEO of Mitsubishi Fuso (a subsidiary of Daimler AG), were instrumental in bringing the idea of such a generous donation to fruition.

Mr. Egashira is the husband of Ms. Kazuko Shiomi, the President of the Nippon Music Foundation, our partner organization. I would like to take this opportunity to express our deepest gratitude for his endeavors and to acknowledge this in our records.

Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 09:00 | URL | comment(0)
The Great East Japan Earthquake Relief Activities [2011年04月12日(Tue)]

The township of Onagawa in ruins

The Great East Japan Earthquake Relief Activities
The Disaster-Stricken Area Is an Isolated Island
without Access to Information

Several days ago, I visited the cities of Ishinomaki and Onagawa to deliver condolence money to the citizens suffering the effects of the disaster. Although the Ishinomaki-Onagawa region is geographically only a small part of the whole area stricken by this disaster, we were able to gauge the general situation of damage there.

Information is scarce in areas where television broadcasting and newspaper deliveries have stopped. In those areas, while some information is available on the living conditions in the evacuation shelters, it is difficult to obtain any information on the region as a whole. Information on those still living in their homes, moreover, is almost nonexistent.

In the city of Ishinomaki, FM radio broadcasting was fortunately intact and devoted sustained efforts to broadcast information for the citizens.

It let people know where and when cooked meals would be served and foodstuffs would be distributed. Unfortunately, in this age of television, only a few have a radio.

Therefore, reconstruction of the information infrastructure including distribution of radios needs to be undertaken immediately. Although we were only able to visit a small segment of the entire area hit by the disaster extending over 300 km of the coastline, we found that many survivors had neither television nor radio and that lack of information was posing a major obstacle for the people in rebuilding their lives.

Japan Community Broadcasting Association (JCBA), comprising 201 community broadcasting stations nationwide, provides community-based FM broadcasting services. In an emergency, it gathers and broadcasts information useful for the communities. In recent years, communities have been setting up these stations so that the stations may play a role in protecting the local citizens in a time of disaster. After the current disaster, a total of 20 community stations set up emergency disaster broadcasting in the prefectures of Iwate (5 stations), Miyagi (9 stations), Fukushima (4 stations), and Ibaraki (2 stations) (3 are now closed).

In the hope of expediting establishment and improvement of the emergency disaster broadcasting services in the disaster-stricken areas and to explore issues of emergency disaster broadcasting by FM stations, The Nippon Foundation dispatched Nao Ozawa and Katsuhiro Motoyama from the PR department to speak with Mr. Yusuke Wakiya, the authority in this field who is now active in the disaster-hit areas.

“Generally, incomes from advertisements and local governments’ public announcements make up most of FM community broadcasting stations’ revenues,” said Mr. Wakiya. “But when they switch to emergency disaster broadcasting (which requires the head of the local government to apply for a license to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications), they basically cannot broadcast any commercials, which means they have virtually no income during this period.”

“The stations that were temporarily set up after the disaster buy their equipment and broadcast daily out of their own pockets,” he said. “They have many problems regarding management and continuation of operations.”

“As both the stations switching to emergency disaster broadcasting and stations newly set up after the disaster are run with the head of the local government as the licensee and they play a public role in providing information after a disaster, the local government ought to support in the management of the stations,” he added. “The reality is that the local government does not have any budget earmarked for that.”

In the face of the situation described above, we assessed that assistance, as shown below, would be needed for the emergency disaster broadcasting stations that provide necessary information to the survivors, and we will expeditiously work out the details for providing the assistance.

Assistance needed as subsidies (for the next 3 months)

(1)Management of the stations: \2 million × 17 stations × 3 months = \102 million
(US$ 1.25 million)
(2)Establishment of new stations: \600,000 × 9 stations = \5.4 million(US$ 67,500)
(3)Switching to emergency disaster broadcasting: \200,000 × 8 stations = \1.6 million (US$ 20,000)

Total: \109 million (US$ 1.36 million)

Preparation of the information infrastructures in the disaster-stricken areas is primarily the responsibility of the government. However, since the government’s disaster response headquarters is dysfunctional and if we consider the suffering of the survivors, there are no alternatives other than for the Nippon Foundation to provide the needed assistance. After the initial 3 months, we believe this role should be passed on to the government. We make the following recommendations to the government’s disaster response headquarters:

(1)Stockpile equipment for emergency disaster broadcasting in the central government’s or prefectural governments’ facilities (approx. \4 million(US$ 50,000) per set of equipment)
(2)Provide subsidies to the local governments (community broadcasting stations) that provide emergency disaster broadcasting services (approx. \2 million(US$ 25,000)/month) for the immediate future for the expenses required for the broadcasting

The problem is that even if we transmit information, there is a shortage of radios to receive the signals. At yesterday’s disaster response meeting (held at 9 a.m. every morning), we decided to draw up a plan, as soon as possible, for securing some 100,000 radios, making them functional (marking the regional frequencies), and distributing them.
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 09:00 | URL | comment(0)
The Great East Japan Earthquake Relief Activities [2011年04月11日(Mon)]
The Great East Japan Earthquake Relief Activities
--Government intervenes in Japan Red Cross Society—

With the delay of distribution of the huge public donation money collected nationwide by the Japan Red Cross Society, Chief Cabinet Minister, Yukio Edano, at a press conference, and Minister Katayama of Internal Affairs and Communications, through the television, made the following statements by first saying that “ essentially the government is reluctant to intervene, as the work of the Red Cross Society is voluntary”, and then followed it by saying, “nevertheless the government will express our views in order to expedite the allocation of the collected money.” This is nothing more than a true government intervention. It is a matter of grave concern.

The way the government coped with the Great East Japan Earthquake and the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant accident was frankly speaking show of incompetency and ignorance.

The Prime Minister who is the supreme commander at an emergency (including disasters) must stay in his office to receive and analyze the incoming data and give clear orders accordingly. These are the responsibilities and the duties of a leader

To go to the site like a “roaming kite”, just browsing around with no particular role, will require a large number of people in logistics and staff to accompany the prime minister. It not only interrupts temporarily the work of the mayor and his team and all the people working around the clock without sleep but at the same time, totally halts the prime minister’s own work of giving clear and exact instructions in accordance with the ever changing situation in the disaster area.

How many cabinet ministers and politicians have gone to the disaster area putting on a serious and grave face? All the information of the vast devastated area is in reality in Tokyo, obtained through television and newspapers, and not in the stricken areas where the information infrastructure is totally damaged.

To go to the site for inspection, troubling many people, is nothing but a political performance.

In the past when the then Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama visited the evacuation shelters at the time of the Hanshin-Awaji (Kobe) Earthquake, he received a profane outcry by the victims saying “Are you here to bring us bread !?”
But the victims of the Tohoku region are forbearing and taciturn. But I am sure that the victimized people of Tohoku must also be thinking the same, irritated that there is no clear policy formulated for the region, and what is visible is just politician after politician coming with their entourage and security guards.

Minister in-Charge of Power Saving, Minister in-Charge of Volunteers…the titles look impressive, but the people do not need to be told by the government what to do, they are already working to save electricity and involved in volunteer work. Mustn’t make little of the power that the citizens have at a time like this. To establish committees and other setups are of no use in an emergency. As the proverb says “All chiefs and no Indians “will just incapacitate the formulation of bold and expedient decisions. This is best done with small number of competent people. It is for these reasons that I have taken the liberty to say that the” government is incompetent and ignorant”

Furthermore, the international community would raise their eyebrows at Minister Katayama and Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano for having intervened in the affairs of the Japanese Red Cross Society on the excuse of delay of the allocation of the donation money, when they should be formulating a stout, unwavering policy for the reconstruction of the disaster-stricken region.

The well-known Seven Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement are humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, volunteerism, unity, and universality. There is to be one society for one nation. I would like to focus on the principle of independence which means that the Red Cross Society in each country will abide by the law of the country while the society’s autonomy shall be preserved. Article 3 of the Japanese Red Cross Law stipulates that from the specific nature of the organization and its mission, it is essential that its autonomy must be respected

Before World War II, when the power of the Japanese army was becoming stronger and stronger, they tried to have a say in everything. This time the central government has done exactly the same thing and they are no different from the pre-war Japanese army. The Japanese Red Cross Society is a neutral organization internationally and the government intervened into that organization.

Originally, the delay of the allocation of the public donation collected was taken up already as an issue in the Diet at the time of the Hanshin-Awaji (Kobe) Earthquake. The Japanese Red Cross Society is to blamed to a certain extent, but it became clear that the Japanese Red Cross Law was not in the best interest nor
served appropriately for an emergency. Therefore it is not fair to shift the responsibility only to the Japanese Red Cross Society for the negligence of the politicians in revising the law.

In the case of the current disaster, the government intervened in order to conceal this negligence, and the independence of the Japanese Red Cross was tragically trampled upon. The Japanese Red Cross Society not only totally lost faith as an organization without their independence but ridiculed by the world. It is indeed very regrettable and unfortunate for the Japanese Red Cross Society.

I would like to see that the Japanese Red Cross Society revise their law to meet the needs of the time and to take strong action never to allow intervention by the government and to recover the trust of the Japanese people that they have lost as an independent organization.

Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 09:00 | URL | comment(0)
Relief Activities for the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake [2011年04月08日(Fri)]

Afflicted people express their deepest appreciation

Relief Activities for the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake
– Distribution of condolence and consolation money –

Launched first in Ishinomaki city and Onagawa-machi, condolence and consolation money was distributed over a three-day period as follows:

As communication infrastructure was destroyed, even if they knew about our activities, a large number of people were unable to come because they had no means of transportation.

It was decided that Onagawa municipality would continue to distribute the money for the affected people hereafter.

We are currently in discussions with 26 of the 88 cities, affected towns and villages.
Responses from as many as 60 cities, towns and villages have yet to be received.
We are devoting our efforts to try to conclude this activity by the end of May

Furthermore, we have received reports that everything proceeded in a smooth manner in Ishinomaki city and Onagawa-machi.
This experience will enable us to engage in activities in other cities, towns and villages with confidence.

We are only offering a small amount of condolence and consolation money, but the afflicted people have an unimaginable lack of cash in hand, and the multitude of people expressing gratitude and appreciation lent great impetus to our activities.

- Condolence money has been returned -

We have instructed our staff to engage in this activity with a flexible case-by-case approach standing in the position of the afflicted persons, and not to be afraid of making mistakes.

A male citizen of Ishinomaki city received condolence money for his deceased daughter. However, given that multiple locations were established in Ishinomaki city to provide payments at the same time, his wife also received condolence money at another location, resulting in the family receiving a double payment.

Upon realization, they rushed back to the city office to make amends and return the second payment.

This incident makes a potent reminder of the intrinsic honesty of Japanese people and filled our premises with a breath of fresh air!
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 09:00 | URL | comment(0)
Symposium-Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Accident [2011年04月08日(Fri)]
Symposium-Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Accident
Status and Future Prospects in a Nutshell

The well received Symposium was attended by 92 persons from 66 mass media companies and 38 persons from 34 foreign embassies in Japan. Below is the summary of my address.


Summary of my address

April 5, 2011
The Nippon Foundation building, 2nd floor

I have just returned from the disaster stricken area of Miyagi prefecture. Yesterday, following the decision made by the Nippon Foundation I was at Ishinomaki city and Onagawa town to offer representatives of bereaved families 50,000 yen ($600) for each missing and dead persons. I am dedicated to delivering this monetary gift to the relatives and families of the 30,000 who are missing and dead.

Do you know the difference between “public donation” (GIENKIN, in Japanese) and “aid money” ( SHIENKIN, in Japanese) both collected for the benefit of the disaster victims? “Public donation” is collected by the mass media and Japan Red Cross Society but it is customary to establish a committee to oversee the distribution of the donation fairly to all victims. For this reason it takes time. For example, citing the Hanshin/Awaji (Kobe) Great Earthquake the victims received donations only one year later. The reality of how “public donation” is provided is that our wish to support and help disaster victims is only delivered after a full year.

The Nippon Foundation uses its advantage as a civic organization in its support activities to flexibly cope with the situation case by case, rather than focusing on equitable and fair distribution.

NPOs and individual volunteers are working hard at 2500 or so shelters. No one has offered them resources to support their activities. I believe that it is aid money that provides support to NPO and volunteer activities. And for the time being it is the Nippon Foundation alone that can expeditiously offer such funds to support NPOs and volunteers. I invite you to understand the differences between the two types of donations, “public donation” and “aid money” and ask you to make your donation as “aid money”.

The Nippon Foundation had been involved in handling the post-accident situation of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant accident as requested by President Gorbachev at the time. We air lifted by Russia’s super big transport plane Antonov, state of the art medical devices such as whole body counters that measure radiation exposure of the organs as well as thyroid gland examiner and covered two hundred thousand Russian children in ten years. Our lecturer, Professor Shunichi Yamashita from Nagasaki University Graduate School has presented a detailed test report to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). There is no other report that is more detailed data than this on Nuclear Power Plant accident so if you are interested please check it out.

Today’s symposium, rather than giving you scientific knowledge concerning nuclear power plant accident, has put the priority in resolving your concerns and uncertainties you may have in your day to day living. The government announcement usually includes an evasive phrase: “while it is not a problem, but to be cautious you should…” Most of us take caution and conclude that it is wise not to drink tap water.

Our experience of Hiroshima and Nagasaki suggested that children below the age of ten were susceptible to thyroid abnormality and in addition quite a number of children would have the onset of leukemia. There were just two leukemia cases. I am not a specialist physician, but the possibility of ordinary people suffering ill health is near zero, apart from the workers on reactor sites.

Media likes to report that so and so has reached 1000 times, or even 5000 times above the standard norm, and most of us are affected by the large multiplier number and as a result become fearful. No doubt radiation is dangerous, but it is the multiplier number such as the 1000 times the standard that cause harmful rumor.

Today we have invited the media and foreign diplomatic corps to our lecture. For example, a chest CT scan has radiation level of 6.9 micro sievert. Radiation dose from a number of such CT scans conducted in a year is higher than the dose one gets from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant accident.

I saw milk being disposed of on the TV screen but there is no problem in drinking it. And if they are processed as cheese and butter than the dairy products have 5% lower dose compared to the original milk.
The point is that there should be a clear explanation as to how much dose is safe and that there is no need for us to worry as we go about our life. Provisory clause and qualifications only cause fear.

The three lecturers we have today will talk clearly and simply to remove your fears. Please ask questions centered on your concerns that arise in your daily lives. And please pass on to your friends and acquaintances what you understand today because I believe it is most important for us to coolly understand the situation and stop the harmful rumor from going around.

Professor Shunichi Yamashita of Nagasaki University Graduate School addressed the issue of radiation exposure from food and water intake and said that children suffered from cancer as the result of the Chernobyl accident because they continued to eat contaminated food over a long period. With regard to Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant there is almost no contaminated food intake due to an “excessive amount” of information.

Footnotes (Icing on the cake)
The concern of the international society is increasing due to the discharge of radioactive water from Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power plant. The Japanese government has the responsibility to provide an authentic disclosure of information. While I am not a specialist, Cesium 135 which is even now an issue at Chernobyl had no effect on mal health. Iodine has a half life of 8 days. The effect in Japan from this is close to zero.

I would rather like to draw your attention to the lecture of Russian Vice Premier Ivanov in New York. “If the oceans are contaminated, then fish we catch 100 nautical miles away may be exposed to danger. Of course, there will be an impact.” he said. (April 6, 2011, Asahi Shimbun)

I wish to say the following to Vice Premier Ivanov.
In the 1990s there were rumors that (Russia) had sunk a number of nuclear powered submarines in the Sea of Japan. Have you forgotten that Japan had provided Suzuran, a facility to process radioactive liquid that was dumped in the Sea of Japan.

Was there anyone who suffered ill health by eating fish that were contaminated by radioactive waste Russia dumped?

I repeat, the Japanese government should disclose correct information to the international community.
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 09:00 | URL | comment(0)
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