In commemoration of the 10 year anniversary of The Great East Japan Earthquake the Society will host a conversation with Rear Admiral Robert. P. Girrier (retired), who led the United States Navy rescue efforts as part of Operation Tomodachi and Former Ambassador to the United States, Ichiro Fujisaki, who was serving as Ambassador during the disaster. Moderated by Seattle’s own Lori Matsukawa, who reported on the disaster from on location in Japan following the events of March 11, 2011. The event will feature "Hana wa Saku" performed by Songs of Hope.
Rear Adm. Robert Girrier (retired) is the President of Pacific Forum and Former Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff, U.S. Pacific Fleet and Director for Operations (J3). In Ronald Reagan Strike Group he conducted a combat deployment in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and New Dawn and provided disaster response for Japan during Operation Tomodachi. Prior to these tours he served as vice commander, Naval Mine and Anti-Submarine Warfare Command, with operational commander duties in 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 7th Fleets.
Ichiro Fujisaki was Japanese Ambassador to the United States from 2008 to 2012. He was previously the Japanese Ambassador to the United Nations and to the World Trade Organization. Fujisaki attended junior high school in Seattle, Washington in the 1960s. Fujisaki entered the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1969. He is now a Guest Professor at Keio University.
Retired Anchor from King 5, Lori Matsukawa was in Japan all week to report on the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami that rocked the island nation. Her first stories from Tokyo aired on Monday, March 14, 2011. Some of the stories Lori reported on including the problem of getting around Japan, heavy congestion at Narita Airport, the rush for food and supplies at a Tokyo Costco store, the ominously empty streets and rising radiation levels.
Songs of Hope is a group of Seattle-based musicians established after the March 11th triple disaster in 2011 to support the Tohoku area (north-eastern Japan) through a series of benefit concerts. Their musical activities have been spread throughout the community, and in addition to doing concerts they now operate the Songs of Hope Kids Choir to pass on a rich cultural heritage of Japanese children's songs to younger generations living in Seattle. Songs of Hope 10年の歩み / 10 Years at Songs of Hope: https://youtu.be/F1pb7gN1HdU
The Japan-America Society of the State of Washington worked hard for five years after the disaster to keep the people of Washington State updated on recovery efforts in Japan. JASSW also sponsored disaster preparedness events in the Puget Sound region to educate people on how to protect themselves if a disaster were to strike here. Now, on the tenth anniversary we look back at Japan's journey and reflect on what we have learned.