一般財団法人 連帯 東北・西南 RENTAI TOHOKU-SEINAN

一般財団法人 連帯 東北・西南 RENTAI TOHOKU-SEINAN

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2012.04.20 20:03

Rentai Tohoku meeting (March 31, Kawasaki-cho, Ichinoseki)

A gathering of about 25 people was held in Kawasaki-cho, Ichinoseki, with local people who have been supporting Rentai Tohoku's activities, as well as those who participated in the Second Symposium on Self-supporting Reconstruction in Nagoya on March 11.

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The primary school teacher who participated in the Nagoya Symposium also took part this time, and exchanged opinions with the teacher who joined us from Rikuzentakata. The discussion highlighted the fact that external parties are not fully comprehending the needs in disaster areas.

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The 'Friends Burger', which was part of the menu provided to participants of this meeting, has been registered as a trademark of Rentai Tohoku and is being sold as a commercial product in local shops.


The representative from Japan Cherry Blossom Association who also participated announced a plan to donate cherry tree saplings whenever the receiving end would be ready to accept them. The representative emphasised that cherry blossoms are not only to be planted and left, but need to be subsequently supervised and therefore it is important to think in the 50-100 year time frame. It was suggested that it would be ideal to think in the direction of having residents take part in the cherry trees' supervision rather than leaving them to be managed by an authority. This time, an initial three saplings were brought and donated to three people.


There was participation by members who released the charity CDs 'shinsei' and 'shinsei II toward the light' and there was talk of a desire to hold an event in the Tohoku area to perform and dance as a way to take a literal step 'towards the light'.

In addition, 31 March was the 40th(+?) wedding anniversary of a lady from the Minami Exchange Centre where we (Rentai Tohoku staff) regularly prepare meals. We presented a large cake and needless to say we all sampled it afterwards.

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Following the gathering at Kawasaki-cho, we visited the temple of the chief priest who joined the Nagoya Symposium, and in the main hall we heard about the history of the temple.

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Through supporting the Tohoku area we feel like we have been made a part of the family. We must extend our activities to the world, through encouraging each other. We hope that our activities can provide some support to the hearts of the people of Tohoku.

Categories:Staff reports

2012.04.20 20:03 admin

2012.04.18 13:24

Second Symposium on Self-supporting Reconstruction "Toward the light" (March 11, Nagoya)

The Second Symposium on Self-supporting Reconstruction "Toward the Light" was held exactly one year following the earthquake disaster, on 11 March 2012 in Nagoya. Intellectuals from many backgrounds presented their views on regeneration activities, and highlighted problems and issues. It was a fruitful Symposium, giving participants the opportunity to ponder what each should be doing as a Japanese citizen.

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The chief priest of Wakamiya Hachiman Shrine opened the Symposium by offering a silent prayer. The various talks were interspersed by the beautiful singing voices of primary school children and sutras being recited by the head priest of Tougeji Temple in Iwate Prefecture. At the end, Mr Syed Tahir recited the Quran and it became a day to reach beyond national and religious boundaries and pray for peace.

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With the support of many volunteers, participants were offered Pakistani curry, chai and desert just as has been served to victims in the disaster areas. We hope that we were able to satisfy the participants' hearts as well as their stomachs.

The following gives a brief summary of each talk.


Opening Remarks
Solidarity Tohoku Foundation Board Chairperson, Mr Yasuhiko Sata

The Symposium was held in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, which is the base of Mr Tahir who has worked enthusiastically in Tohoku. The Symposium was opened with the expression of gratitude to everyone who provided support.

Silent prayer
Wakamiya Hachiman Shrine Chief Priest, Mr Fukuno Hitoshi

A message from the Emperor about the disaster was conveyed and a silent prayer took place in candlelight.

The Emperor's poem from New Year poetry party held at the Imperial Court:

"When one looks down to see what the beach was like when the tsunami came,
the sea is a blue calm

● Talk 1

Maiya Ltd., President, Mr Haruo Maiya(Video message)

I am very grateful for the support received from all over Japan. Regeneration plans have been formed and debris is being removed, but victims' anxiety is increasing. We must try our best with a fighting spirit, but we must not forget the enormous tsunami damage. Six of our supermarkets (which had been established for 50 years) were totally destroyed, and we lost 7 billion yen worth of sales. Sixteen employees, my mother, and a house that had been our family home for many generations were also lost. I had to temporarily sack 350 employees but by July I was able to re-employ most of them.

● Talk 2

Ashinaga, Board Member Mr Koji Ogawa

Ashinaga is a private organisation totally reliant on donations and receives no government support. The disaster struck just before the start of the new academic year and even though financial resources were lacking, two days following the disaster we decided to give a lump sum gift for the children who lost their parents.

Since then, we have received donations of 4.8 billion yen and we are now giving out 2 million yen. One month after the disaster we set up a Tohoku office and are proceeding with plans of building care centres for orphans (called Tohoku Rainbow house) in five locations. The participants were moved when they listened to the recordings of guardians of orphans.

● Talk 3

Nagoya Daini Red Cross Hospital, Director Mr Kiyoshi Ishikawa

The title of the talk was "Hoping for the quick recovery of medical services in the disaster areas : Disaster relief is the mission of the Red Cross". Mr Ishikawa talked about the activities of the hospital. Eighty minutes after the disaster the Red Cross had set up a dedicated office, and by evening the initial action group was dispatched to Ishinomaki. All Red Cross Hospitals got together and sent 228 staff by the end of August.

Medical coordinator Mr Tadashi Ishii in Miyagi prefecture organised a team of 3600, and the dedicated action of the Red Cross staff from Ishinomaki (who were victims themselves) was regarded as a model for medical professionals. The Ishinomaki relief team who are medical experts of disaster set up a disaster medical research center.

In the future it is necessary to provide emotional and psychological support. It is very difficult to time the end of medical support, and we must not forget the disaster areas even after support activities have ended.

● Talk 4

Ishiki Clinic, Chairman, Mr Tetsuya Banno

Report on activities of Japan Medical Association Team in 6 evacuation centres in Iwaki City, Fukushima prefecture, as well as problems of future JMAT activities.

The Japan Medical Association (JMA) initiated the dispatch of disaster medical teams, JMATs, to affected areas through prefectural medical associations. In cooperation with the medical association in disaster-affected areas, the Team's mission was to provide medical assistance at hospitals and clinics in the disaster-affected areas and to continue provision of ongoing medical treatments that began before the disaster. (DMAT: Disaster Medical Assistant Team.)

● Reciting sutras

Tougenji Temple Ichinoseki City, Iwate Prefecture, Chief Priest Mr Ryouki Sato

Chief Priest Mr Sato who miraculously survived the disaster read the sutras for the repose of the souls.

● Chorus

Sugiyama Jogakuen Primary School 2nd grade

The choir performed three songs, and the last song 'We are the World' received a call of 'encore' from the audience. The messages sent by the children were all warm and gave the participants the feeling of a bright future.

● Keynote 1

Director, KNI, Dr Shigemi Kitahara

The title of the talk was 'The day hospitals save Tohoku - In order to save this country from collapse'.

Dr Kitahara brought up issues regarding Japan's medical service and social security. He pointed out reasons for the current situation of medical services in Japan and measures for saving a medical breakdown. He outlined numerous challenges KNI is undertaking, including non-medical services such as revitalizing the inside and outside of Japan in corporation with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

It is important to believe that thoughts will be brought to realization, and people should share a common awareness of the issues and put it into practice from tomorrow - this will be the changing force of society.

● Keynote 2

Saitama Gakuen University Head of Business Administration Department
Solidarity Tohoku Foundation Board Member, Mr Tadanobu Okuyama

The title of the talk was 'Tohoku regeneration - disaster and yet another crisis'.

Mr Okuyama made some suggestions on government policy from an economy standpoint. The summary of the talk is as follows:

  • The calm and orderly actions of people in the affected areas deserve praise. On the other hand I feel doubt and exasperation at the distorted system of authority (academic field, mass communication, civil service, government bodies).
  • The national debt is currently in crisis, and the Bank of Japan ought to take urgent measures to counteract this.

● Panel Discussion


Mr Eba, Chief Priest Mr Sato, Sakura Hospital External Medicine Director Kobayashi joined the other speakers and discussed the future of Tohoku and regeneration of Japan.

Mr Eba said that in this world there is no darkness but only shadows; light and shadows are one and the same. He appealed for support for self-reliance.

Mr Kobayashi made use of his own relief effort experience during the Hanshin Awaji earthquake. He took an ambulance and nurses and headed for Miyagi prefectural office. The disaster relief office had no information, so without depending on official administration he continued to do his best and offer help as surgeon just relying on his own instinct.

Mr Kobayashi realized the difference between injuries sustained in this disaster and those in the Hanshin Awaji earthquake, and the importance of search work to return the bodies to the families as soon as possible.

Mr Kobayashi thinks it is important to continue support so the enthusiasm doesn't go cold. He still continues to support the area by buying things from the affected areas and selling them.

● As a result of the Symposium

At Rentai Tohoku we have been supporting self-reliance with a main emphasis on caring for disaster victims through provision of meals.

The special quality Japanese people have of 'altruism'- regarding other people's happiness as their own, will save Japan. We must cherish this beautiful way of thinking. All religions are based on altruism. Japan is now facing political and financial crisis. Self-reliance in Tohoku will save Japan, and save the world. Our activities will focus not just on Tohoku but will extend to the world.

Categories:Staff reports

2012.04.18 13:24 admin


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Latest articles

  • Rentai Tohoku meeting (March 31, Kawasaki-cho, Ichinoseki)
  • Second Symposium on Self-supporting Reconstruction "Toward the light" (March 11, Nagoya)