The opening remarks by Eiichi Kawahara at Japanese Photo Gallery
Green Library of FIU
April 9th 2012
Dr. Mark Rosenberg, President of FIU
Mme. Laura Probst, Dean of FIU Libraries,
I would like to thank Pres. Rosenberg for your gracious presence at this opening. I am also very grateful for the support provided by FIU, in particular, the staff of the Green Library and Ms. Komura, Japanese instructor to host this event. This photo gallery displays to the FIU community a comparison of some photos taken before and after March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake & Tsunami that hit the Northeastern region of Tohoku last year.
Immediately after the March 11 incidents, an out-pouring of support comes from all over the globe. American Forces stationing in Japan as well as Japan’s Self- Defense Forces conducted joint rescue and relief operations that save thousands of lives.
The hardship, difficulties and sorrows of the hundreds of thousands of victims were so immense and were beyond our imagination. However, the peoples conducted themselves in a great spirit of discipline and solidarity within their communities. They spent many weeks and months, looking for their lost relatives and friends and stayed countless nights at one of many evacuation centers in cold winter.
Nevertheless, through the hard work and dedication of many Japanese and foreigners alike, infrastructure such as highways, super-express trains, and airports were back to normal within weeks. Many Japanese companies were operating again at an astonishing speed, with supply chains having more than fully recovered since last year.
However, there is still a lot to rebuild community into smart community, and Japan is open again. We are open for business, we are open for tourism, and we would like to share the experience and opportunity of the reconstruction business with our friends worldwide.
People tend to assume all of Japan was devastated, but Japan is not such small. The rest of Japan was briefly disrupted by the incidents; most of the Japan was back to normal within weeks. Just as before, you can enjoy Japan’s business environment and shopping destinations. Japan is also rich with more than a thousand history, culture and traditions, and it has many World Heritage Sites all over Japan. Cultural gems of architecture, arts, museums and fashion are on display everywhere.
You may also see the beauties of the affected Tohoku region at this gallery.
Once again, I am very grateful for this opportunity to share with you the experience of the Japanese people, their lives and reconstruction efforts since the March 11, by making it available to you at FIU. Thank you so much!