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Marking the third anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake that struck the Tohoku region of northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011, Soka Gakkai members held memorial services in 40 culture centers encompassing the Tohoku region, including Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima Prefectures. They offered prayers for those who lost their lives in the earthquake and subsequent tsunami and for the rapid recovery of the affected areas.
SGI President Daisaku Ikeda also offered memorial prayers at the Soka Gakkai Headquarters in Shinanomachi, Tokyo. In his message for the occasion, Mr. Ikeda commended the people of Tohoku for their strength, courage and resilience, stating, "There is no doubt that your deceased loved ones are praising your efforts, thanking you for your fortitude and great advancement over the past three years." He also emphasized that through chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, we can bring forth limitless energy and become revitalized.
On March 2, the Soka Gakkai Headquarters Leaders Meeting was also held in Tohoku, at the Iwate Culture Center in Morioka City. Some 13,000 people at 20 Soka Gakkai centers throughout the Tohoku Region also joined the meeting via live video broadcast. Over 100 SGI representatives from 9 countries and territories who were visiting Japan for SGI training sessions also participated via live link-up from Tokyo.
Highlights of the meeting included a report from SGI-Philippines Women's Leader Dalisay Serrano, who reported on the progress of recovery following Super Typhoon Haiyan, as well as an experience by Masahiko Murakami, a fisherman from the tsunami-devastated city of Rikuzentakata in Iwate Prefecture, who has worked to spearhead the recovery of the city's aquafarming activities.
Plans to build a major new Soka Gakkai center in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, have also been announced, and the groundbreaking ceremony took place on March 1. This new center, scheduled to be completed by 2016, will be built to the highest standards of earthquake protection and provide emergency accommodation in case of disaster.
[Adapted from the March 2, 3, 7 and 12, 2014, issues of Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photo courtesy of Seikyo Shimbun]
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