2017.11.03 Commemoration of the Sixth Anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake.
Commemoration of the Sixth Anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake.
March 11, 2017: It was with a solemn heart and much reverence that H.E. Ambassador Dr. Sayed Mohammad Amin Fatimie was present at the National Theatre, Tokyo to attend the ‘Memorial Ceremony to Mark the Sixth Anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake’ – the most powerful recorded earthquake in Japanese history and the subsequent tsunamis which devastated the country in 2011. On behalf of the people and Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, H.E. Ambassador Dr. Fatimie participated in the ceremony to pay respects and express condolence for the tragic disaster in which the noble country of Japan, long time friend to Afghanistan, suffered so greatly and in which many precious, innocent lives were lost.
The event was attended by all high ranking officials of the Japanese Government and Ministries, by all Ambassadors and Heads of Mission from countries with missions in Japan, and by all Regions and International Organizations who wanted to reflect on the horrific tragedies of six years ago. Their Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess Akishino presided over the event on behalf of the Imperial Family of Japan. Openings remarks were given by H.E. Mr. Yoshihide Suga, Vice-Chairmen of the Ceremony and Chief Cabinet Secretary, after which the Japanese National Anthem was played and a silent prayer offered at 14:46, the time when the quakes originally struck. Chairman of the Ceremony, H.E. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gave his address which was followed by that of His Imperial Highness Prince Akishino. Memorial Addresses were given by H.E. Mr. Tadamori Oshima, Speaker of the House of Representatives; H.E. Mr. Chuichi Date, President of the House of Councillors; and H.E. Mr. Itsuro Terada, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Then speeches were given on behalf of the victims by Mr. Yo Chiba, Representative of the Victims of Iwate Prefecture; Mr. Masayoshi Sato, Representative of the Victims of Miyagi Prefecture; and Mr. Yoshinobu Ishii, Representative of the Victims of Fukushima Prefecture. After the above speeches, T.I.H. Prince and Princess Akishino left, flowers were offered, and closing remarks were given by H.E. Mr. Kazuhiro Sugita, Member of the Committee of the Ceremony and Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary.
Six years ago, when the tragedies struck it was a very difficult time for the people, Government, and residents of Japan. Although many people fled Tokyo in fear, H.E. Ambassador Dr. Fatimie, all diplomats, local staff, and their supportive families made the decision to stay in Tokyo, continue on, and offer help to their long time friend Japan in its greatest hour of need. As Afghanistan knows all too well the after effects of tragedy, they felt morally obligated and driven to stand in solidarity with Japan and offer assistance. With great care and speed, the embassy contacted local governments in the affected area to ascertain what items they needed most. Substantial funds were raised in Afghanistan by the Afghan Government as well as by the Red Crescent Society, and the mayors of Kabul and Kandahar. Also notably, Afghan school children carried out a campaign to collect money amongst themselves to send to their Japanese counterparts in the affected areas and included drawings by the children of Bamiyan Province, hoping to provide further material and spiritual support. So too H.E. Dr. Fatimie, all diplomats, local staff, and the great Afghan residents of Japan contributed funds and purchased goods to be delivered and used by those most in need.
On May 20, 2011 H.E. Ambassador Dr. Fatimie and other Embassy staff travelled to Tsukuba City and Ibaraki Prefectural Government to present them with items and funds collected, as Ibaraki was in great need as host to many evacuees. There they also went to peoples’ homes to meet with families and to distribute necessities to the needy.
On June 8, 2011 H.E. Ambassador Dr. Fatimie along with a delegation of Afghan residents of Japan travelled to meet with Hon. Governor Sato of Fukushima, Hon. Deputy Mayor Katahira of Fukushima City, to deliver funds, goods, and the drawings by the Bamiyan children.
On March 16, 2012 H.E. Ambassador Dr. Fatimie and Dr. Bashir Mohabbat visited Iwate Prefecture to meet with Hon. Governor Tasso, Hon. Mayor Tanifuji of Morioka. H.E. Ambassador Dr. Fatimie presented the Hon. Mayor with a letter of condolence and support, as well as a token of Afghanistan’s friendship with the city. (To view Original Story, please click here: )
On May 24, 2012 H.E. Ambassador Dr. Fatimie and delegation visited Sendai City in Miyagi Prefecture to meet with Hon. Vice-Governor Wako, Hon. Mayor Okuyama, Hon. Vice Mayor Ito. (To view Original Story, please click here: )
The significant bond between Japan and Afghanistan is an important and treasured relationship. As H.E. Ambassador Dr. Fatimie said in somber reflection of the devastating events of March 11, 2011, “the people and Government of Afghanistan were with, are with, and will be with the people of the great and noble nation of Japan during natural disasters or any difficult times of grief and sorrow… your pain is our pain.” The loss of life and livelihood for so many in Eastern Japan affected the whole nation. The Government of Japan has worked very hard to help recover from the tragedy and there is still work ongoing. H.E. Ambassador Dr. Fatimie offered his thoughts and prayers that one day they will again recover and that a tragedy such as this may never occur.