MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR
This year marks the fifth anniversary of the Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami. We dedicate this issue of the ANZCCJ newsletter to those who lost loved ones to the natural disasters that hit the Tohoku region and who are still recovering from their loss.
At the Chamber we are honoured to support two organisations that continue to play vital roles in facilitating rebuilding activities in Tohoku: Support our Kids (SOK) and O.G.A. for Aid. SOK supports children whose lives have been deeply affected by the 2011 disasters through overseas homestay programs, charity auctions and other activities. Every time you register for an ANZCCJ event, 500 yen of your event fee goes towards SOK. O.G.A. for Aid is an NPO based out of Minami Sanriku in Miyagi Prefecture. They are the longest running international aid organisation in Tohoku and have been organising community rebuilding workshops and events since March 2011. The Chamber teams up with O.G.A. for Aid to organise Volunteer Weekends to Minami Sanriku every year. The next one will be held on 28-29 May and and I strongly encourage you to join us and help remind the people of Tohoku that they have not been forgotten.
Travelling to Tohoku gives you a sense of what happened on 3.11 but more importantly, what needs to be done. The sheer scale of the reconstruction work needs to be seen to be believed. Being there means you can be part of a conversation with the locals and hear more about what they actually need. My most recent trip to Tohoku, timed to attend the 3.11 Memorial Service in Minami Sanriku, was a great example of the importance of ongoing relationship building. I met with the Mayor of Kamaishi (the venue for one of the matches in the 2019 Rugby World Cup) and discussed ways the Australian and New Zealand business community might be come involved in the lead-up to 2019. I stayed the night with a beef producer I first met in 2011 (as part of the MLA Together With Japan program) and over fine Iwate wagyu shabu shabu and a drop or two of Australian red (donated by the lovely folks at The Peninsula) we talked about how producers and farmers might gain more knowledge about marketing their products in overseas markets. More opportunities for some of our members perhaps. In any case, getting up there and having a look around, and a chat, is well worth the effort.
Many companies and individuals have been terrific in terms of their ongoing engagement in Tohoku. This month we would like to highlight the fantastic work that some of our main corporate sponsors – ANZ, Lendlease, MLA, Australian Embassy Tokyo, and Rio Tinto Japan – continue to do in Tohoku.
Read the full newsletter by clicking on the link.