In relation to the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, a number of events took place in June. The following are some of the events in which I had the opportunity to involve myself.
On Monday 4 June, a charity lunch was held by Mr Christopher Purvis, Chairman of the Japan Society at Umu restaurant. It combined a talk by Mr Sean Moore, lead officer of the Specialised Response Services WP, about his first-hand experience of his participation in the relief effort in the Tohoku area, and a performance by Mr Taro Hakase, an acclaimed Japanese violinist.
On the following day, a memorial service for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami was held at Westminster Abbey, attended by approximately 1,800 members of the public. In a light drizzle, I laid a floral tribute at the Innocent Victims' Memorial. A Japanese flag was flying at half mast above the Abbey, perhaps for the first time ever, befitting the occasion.
On Saturday 11 June, in exceptionally good weather, a charity bazaar in aid of the children affected by the earthquake and tsunami was held at my residence in Kensington with 450 people attending to contribute to the cause.
Subsequently, to commemorate the passage of 100 days since the disaster, a charity presentation by Mr Simon McBurney, the famous theatre director, took place at the Embassy on Friday 17 June. The evening was launched with a speech by The Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport. He spoke of his strong attachment to Japan and offered warm words of encouragement to the Japanese people. Following that, Mr McBurney delivered a talk about what the disaster meant to those observers outside Japan and to him personally.
As Mr McBurney mentioned, coverage of the catastrophe may have disappeared from the front pages of the newspapers, but it has made an enduring impression on all of us individually. Moreover, as the reconstruction process still has a long way to go, I hope we can keep our concern for the people in the Tohoku area, who are still facing daunting circumstances, at the forefront of our minds.