Japan Society of Fairfield County
With the one year anniversary of the
twin disasters, the strongest earthquake in Japan’s recent history
and the subsequent tsunami, in Japan’s Tohoku region upon us, the
Japan Society of Fairfield County hosted an event on March 3rd, 2012
in the Wilton Town Library. The venue provided an opportunity to
thank many supporters who helped the Society raise a significant
amount of money that was relayed to the Japanese Red Cross. At the
event two quite insightful talks provided an excellent review of
what happened and how the Japanese government and society have
responded to the at times insurmountable challenges.
Tohoku Earthquake, One Year After
Dr. Yoko Kawai Kurimoto from the Society’s
board compared last year’s events with the aftermath of the Great
Kanto Earthquake in 1923 and highlighted similarities how the
Japanese responded to the challenges and the outpouring of support
in both cases.
Dr Jun Saito, assistant professor of political
science at Yale University, has reviewed the Japanese government’s
swift and comprehensive response to the earthquake and drew a
contrast to its dealings with the radiation fallout in Fukushima.
Dr. Saito’s analysis of the aftermath of the twin disasters outlined
choices for the future and how to improve not only the management of
disaster relief efforts but also to develop an energy sourcing
strategy as well as community planning.
Mr. Yasuhisa Kawamura, Deputy Chief of Mission at
the Consulate General Japan in New York, has thanked in the name of
the government and the Japanese people for the massive outpouring of
international support, especially the US government and the American
people. He then shared with the audience a heartwarming video in
which ordinary victims of the disaster extend their “arigatou” to
the world. Mr. Kawamura presented the most recent data from Japan
that clearly indicates that the Japanese economy is back on track
regaining its growth trajectory and the roadmap for the radiation
cleanup in the next 30 years. Mr. Kawamura’s words assured that
Japan is once again well positioned to play its important role in
the global community of nations. Mr. Kawamura distributed wrist
bands with Japanese thank you signs as a symbolic gesture of
The lively Q&A session touched upon several
issues including Japan’s future energy sourcing strategy, nuclear
waste management and novel ideas regarding community planning in
Japan’s aging population centers.
The event concluded with a performance by the
world famous Koto player Masayo Ishigure. She played on the
traditional musical instrument quintessential classic Japanese tunes
as well as contemporary compositions highlighting the adaptation of
this uniquely Japanese instrument to modern times. The pieces
performed were: The Sakura Variations (arr by Tadao Sawai),
Chidori no Kyoku (by Kengyo Yoshizawa), and Flying
like a Bird (by Tadao Sawai). The Society’s president, Dr.
Vernon Beck, thanked all participants for attending as well as
extending their support to Japan in his closing remarks.
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