Australia stands with Tohoku
10th October 2016
In the five years since the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of March 2011, Australia has worked side-by-side with Japan to support recovery efforts in Tohoku. The Australian Government, businesses, NPOs and people are united, as one team, to help Tohoku once again to become a successful, thriving region of Japan.
In the immediate aftermath of the disaster, Australians were quick to respond, donating to the Australian Red Cross Japan and Pacific Disaster Appeal, sending an Urban Search and Rescue Team to the town of Minami Sanriku in Miyagi Prefecture, and volunteering in local communities.
Once emergency relief and search and rescue efforts subsided, Australia turned its efforts towards helping with the long-term recovery of the region and supporting people, particularly children, who survived the disaster. The Australia-Japan Foundation’s Reconstruction Initiative has been critical here.
I’d like to introduce some of Australia’s recent activities in Tohoku:
- As we have over the past five years, Embassy staff, Club Australia, and the Australia New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan, travelled to Tohoku in May, to volunteer at the Minami Sanriku ‘recovery market’ and play street rugby with the local community
- in August, students from Tohoku once again travelled to Australia for a two week homestay in Queensland, to develop their self-confidence and global awareness
- prominent Australian Jazz musicians visited schools and community festivals in Iwate as part of the annual ‘Jazz Journey’ project. You can watch a video of the 2016 Jazz Journey here.
- with the support of Meat and Livestock Australia, a New Colombo Plan Scholar and her parents, cattle farmers from South Australia, visited a beef farmer forced to evacuate from Fukushima Prefecture. Read more about her experience here.
These are just a few of the many projects in which we are involved – activities I believe will advance the recovery process in Tohoku by: helping build a new sense of community, reducing feelings of isolation, helping people develop new personal and creative skills, and creating and shared sense of hope and optimism.
Ambassador Bruce Miller
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