April 15(Friday)

Launch of the Reconstruction Design Council

 

Yesterday, the first meeting of the Reconstruction Design Council in Response to the Great East Japan Earthquake was held.  I truly appreciated the Council members readily agreeing to participate despite the very sudden request.

 

Participants included a number of persons associated with the Tohoku region in addition to the governors of the disaster-affected areas.  Professor Takeshi Umehara, who is serving as Special Advisor to the Council, is often thought of as a Kyotoite, but in fact he too was born in Sendai and comes from a long line of fishermen.  Professor Umehara delivered his opening remarks in front of a virtual forest of press cameras, saying, "I feel it would be appropriate to devote the remainder of my life to the interests of the country," and "Just coming from Kyoto to Tokyo for a meeting once a week is quite trivial.  Such things are a walk in the park when you consider the people suffering in the disaster-stricken areas."  To hear such a strong expression of determination and enthusiasm from such a distinguished man I respect deeply brought a lump in my throat.  (This is also the subject of a video segment of the Japanese Government Internet TV, and I encourage you to watch it.)

 

While this meeting has enjoyed brisk exchanges of views from the start, I have asked the Council members to continue in the future each to express what they are thinking and what they envision without restraint or modification.  I also hope to participate in this meeting to give my ideas and pose various questions to the Council, so as to glean proposals that foster dreams and harbor hope.  Rather than "recovery" to merely return the affected areas to their former state, we will without fail "create" a Tohoku, and indeed a Japan, that is more marvelous than before.

 

(Website linked from this post is provided in Japanese only)



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