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JEN interview video 2

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The earthquake and the tsunami happened on the 11th And in that first day we came in and were thinking that we must offer support. But we ourselves were affected by the disasters. So although we began preparations on the night of the 12th, our workers only came to work on the 13th. The first several months we gave support with emergency aid, which consisted of necessary goods or the really crucial things. For example things such as clean up. Because everyone's places were covered with sludge from the tsunami we organized volunteers to clean up that sludge, and so on. With activities such as that we began by providing emergency aid. But after that we have been gradually turning to recovering living situations for them going forward. For the disaster survivors there unfortunately is no way to bring back what they have lost. For the disaster survivors there unfortunately is no way to bring back what they have lost. And as sad as it is, they will not see their families who have died. But if they can carry that grief and move forward, if they can recover some of that hope for the future, and feel that they are not all alone in the world, won't that let them move forward? To these people who have had their houses swept away we cannot really say "that's too bad but there's nothing to be done." But if the person themselves do not resign themselves to the fact and move on to the next steps, they will always dwell in that grief, and stuck wondering "why has it disappeared?" they won't be able to take any steps forward. and stuck wondering "why has it disappeared?" they won't be able to take any steps forward. And yet even if we said “let it go,” or “it can’t be helped”—not that we intend to say such things—but even if we did say that, what’s important is for people themselves to be able to accept the situation. what’s important is for people themselves to be able to accept the situation. So what’s important is for us to provide something that will help them along that path. JEN’s work has always talked about “psychosocial care and assistance for self-reliance,” and what’s important for self-reliance is for a certain degree of psychosocial recovery. what’s important for self-reliance is for a certain degree of psychosocial recovery. One way to do that is to develop a feeling that one has accomplished something together with others. If one could feel, “we’re connected.” It’s a kind of connection based on the feeling that other people understand your sadness. People these days often talk about recuperating kizuna (bonds), but what’s important is to recover a spiritual or psychological kind of bond. In terms of our information networks, our economy—Japan isn’t isolated at all. So if we think of Japan as a person, our left arm might be injured, but Japan’s injury also impacts other people. If we looked at the whole world, we see that eastern Japan is injured, Somalia is injured, Haiti is still injured. If we looked at everything that way, we can see that there are injuries everywhere. So we can begin by supporting things we’re involved with, and through our engagement, we can influence those around us in good ways. My hope is that those people can influence other people, and that the world will change through that. So in that sense, I think that the earthquake has been a good opportunity for people in Japan to become aware of things. Looking at things on a global scale, given that it was a large disaster in a developed country, for people in developed countries it might have been an important chance to become aware of things. for people in developed countries it might have been an important chance to become aware of things. Everyone wishes happiness for those close to us. In English one says, “I wish you the best for you and your loved ones.” Who are these “loved ones”? Your family might be. Your friends might be. But then your friend’s loved ones should also be dear to us, right? In that sense, how far out are our relatives, our “loved ones”? At least the whole earth. Isn’t it? In that sense, how far out are our relatives, our “loved ones”? At least the whole earth. Isn’t it? “To do something for others.” Aid usually comes from the feeling of wanting to do something for others, so doing things to make others happy makes up a lot of support activities. But immediate things that might make others happy, for example like giving a cake. But if everyone brought them a cake, they wouldn’t be able to eat it all, right? So then what kinds of things might make these people happy? Perhaps, they themselves want to give people cakes. So I ask people to do a kind of support that’s not “to do something for others,” but “to have them do something for you.” What I said earlier about asking local fishermen, “please let us eat your oysters,” is a kind of support in that way. In other words, for those people to feel that they can be of use. There is no one who isn’t useful, but when you’ve lost confidence, you tend to think that you’re of no use. To lose so much of everything you’ve built up, many people lose their confidence. So in order to regain confidence, you can’t keep only receiving things, because then you will lose more confidence. “This, and that, I used to buy them myself, with the money I saved, but now I have to get everything from someone else.” They might feel that way. So you don’t give, you support. You support, in a demanding way. “Please do this for me.” Presenting them with such requests— that can be a good form of aid.

Video Details

Duration: 9 minutes and 49 seconds
Country: United States
Language: Japanese
Genre: None
Views: 83
Posted by: kh386 on Mar 5, 2012

Ms. Keiko Kiyama, JEN Secretary General

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