It has already been a year since the disaster, which has changed the way Japanese people view the world. Just by looking back at my own blog, I recall that the past one year has been dominated by news of the disaster and the subsequent recovery programme.
Now 11 March is approaching and many people in the UK are planning one-year-on events. (Please check Japan-UK events calendar for the relevant events.) The most encouraging fact for the people in the devastated area and for Japan as a whole is that we have friends all over the world, who will never forget this disaster and are walking side by side with us on the road to recovery.
Our Embassy is going to hold a Ceremony of Remembrance on 11 March. At this event, we will commemorate the victims of the disaster. In addition, we intend to make it an opportunity to demonstrate our gratitude and the progress of recovery to the world. (This event is by invitation only.)
Among the various undertakings to help boost the recovery process and demonstrate how well Japan has recovered already since 11 March 2011, is the official announcement of Tokyo's bid for the 2020 Olympics. The Tokyo bid is whole-heartedly supported by the governors and people of the three affected prefectures in the Tohoku region, and it is perhaps fitting to remember that the Tokyo Olympics back in 1964 worked as a symbol of the recovery of Japan after WWII. If the 2020 Olympic Games are held in Tokyo, it will be a symbol of recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake.
In any case, as we approach the one-year-on mark, we hope for many new beginnings and opportunities for the people affected by this tragedy, and extend to them our ongoing support and solidarity.