Sendai City, Japan
I was privileged to to be invited to present at a workshop in early August 2011, organized by APEC and hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affair (MOFA), Japan, at Sendai, Japan. I arrived at Narita Airport from Singapore in the early morning and subsequently took a domestic flight to the “refurbished” Sendai airport.
Where is Sendai?
I must confess that my knowledge of the geography on Japan is really bad except for the cities like Tokyo, Osaka and Kobe. Sendai is located about 300 km north of Tokyo on the Pacific Coast of Honshu (the main island of Japan). It is the largest city in Japan’s northeastern Tohoku region and has a population of 1.03 million. The city offers beautiful scenery, including the Hirose-gawa river, which runs through central Sendai, and city streets lined with lush zelkova trees. Thanks to its abundant natural features, Sendai is known throughout Japan as the “City of Trees.” Sendai has a number of universities and higher educational institutions, including Tohoku University, and more than 50,000 domestic and international students are studying here.
On March 11th, 2011, the coastal areas of Sendai were badly damaged by 9.2 Richter Scale Earthquake followed by a tsunami. The city was devastated and it is undergoing a steady rehabilitation and reconstruction. Appended is a video of the recovery and resiliency of the Japanese people. This Great East Japan Earthquake is referred to as the “3.11 Tsunami.” This subsequent video is a strong attempt to re-invite the world to return to Sendai and japan as a whole.
Support the Japanese Recovery
As I had the opportunity to experience the Japanese hospitality for the several days at Sendai city, I regard the Japanese race as a highly resilience one. Japan does not need sympathy from the world, it requires more people to spend their holidays and attendance of conferences so as to improve its economy. The continuous support for their recovery effort by many global organizations and nations is steadily increasing its road to recovery.
Sendai City Centre
As we stayed at Hotel Monterey Sendai where the workshop is held, this is the surrounding of the city centre of Sendai.
I was invited by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affair (MOFA) to visit the the areas to the affected by Great East Japan Earthquake on August 3rd. I will be elaborating the visit to each site (stop) in the subsequent blogs.
- Visit to the center of Sendai City (Stop1 – which is this blog)
- Visit to the industrial waste disposal facility of Suzukitec. Co. Ltd (Stop 2)
- Visit to Sendai-Shiogama Port (Stop 3)
- Visit to disaster-affected coastal areas (Gamou, Okada, Arahama and Ido areas) (Stop 4)
- Visit to Sendai Airport (Stop 5)
- Arrival at the Hotel Monterey Sendai
Survival of the Affected People Vs Radiation Fear
I think the major concern of the world is to focus on the Fukushima Daiichi reactor leak. It was unfortunate that during the last five months, the international news were focusing on the nuclear crisis and not on the survival of the Japanese people who are affected by the Tsunami. I was reminded about one of my previous trip to present in the US conference during the outbreak of the SARS period. I was strongly discourage to attend as advised by the conference organizer as Singapore was “heavily” affected by SARS then. The conference organizer is an old friend of mine and she apologized and highlighted that the news in the US has presented such that there is someone dying in Asia (and Singapore) during each 15 second of news broadcast. I do not think this approach of news broadcasting will change but we need to have a better perspective of news regarding disaster, especially us, being BCM professionals.
Wikipedia had a good description of the entire Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster disaster. If you look at the newspaper cutting, Sendai is a fair distance away from the Fukushima nuclear reactors and the government is tranparent enough to published in its newspaper, the radiation exposure on a daily basis. Based on the chart, technically, I am exposed to 0.061 microsieverts per hour.