|The Great East Japan Earthquake struck at 14～46 in the afternoon of March
On that day, at that time, people's lives were overturned and changed forever. The scenery of the Soma-Futaba and Iwaki
| districts was completely transformed. Victims lost everything and could
only tremble under the cold skies. Everything that had been taken for granted
could no longer be taken for granted. People were overwhelmed in the face
of nature's venom and plunged into uncertainty.
In RID 2530, three Rotarians lost their lives, and six clubs in the Soma-Futaba district are still unable to hold proper regular meetings. But even in such circumstances, not a single club has disbanded, and not a single Rotarian has resigned. It is indeed a miracle. As one evacuated member said with tears welling in his eyes, "I want to continue the Rotary Club, even with only four members in the end." These feelings toward Rotary were most impressive.
At the time of the disaster, large donations, material support, and messages of goodwill flooded in from elsewhere in Japan, from countries and regions around the world, such as Taiwan and the United States, and from the Yoneyama Alumni Association. I really did sense once again the internationality of Rotary and the unselfish compassion and friendship of Rotary and Rotarians. The 2,400 Rotarians in RID 2530 must never forget this goodwill and sometime must repay it.
Unlike other disaster-hit regions, RID 2530 in Fukushima Prefecture does not know when the situation will return to normal and is beset by false rumors about radioactive contamination from the nuclear power station. Agricultural products and seafood cannot be sold, shipments of beef have halted, children have evacuated to other districts, and population outflow continues. Tourist spots are deserted as well. In the world's most peaceful country, suicides are on the rise. In the postwar period Japan has been fervently pursuing unlimited convenience, efficiency, and material affluence. But then the nuclear power station accident occurred, and radiation leaked. As a result, Japan lost the trust of the international community, the people's distrust and anger toward the government intensified day by day, and their feelings of unqualified resignation and nothingness have just gone on expanding.
The most important thing for Rotarians is to keep promises-in other words, to maintain trust and confidence. Without these qualities, society would not function. But at the moment the Japanese seem to be losing this sense of responsibility.
Announcements by the government, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, the Nuclear Safety Commission, Tokyo Electric Power Co., and others bring to mind the proclamations of the Imperial Headquarters during the Pacific War. They are irresponsible. Every day and every night, evacuees are struggling to protect their families and to move ahead with relief and reconstruction. We Rotarians must help them by conducting volunteer activities that only Rotarians are capable of doing. As the minister Martin Luther King Jr. said, "Everyone has the power for greatness, not for fame but greatness, because greatness is determined by service."
| Japan has encountered many national crises in its history and overcome
The Japanese have the DNAto stand up and face any kind of calamity. I believe that the Japanese can also definitely overcome the Great East Japan Earthquake, said to be the worst ever disaster in history. Let's help in restoring hope and bringing back the "beautiful Fukushima" of old. Come on, Rotarians! Come on, Fukushima!