Soka Gakkai International
Buddhism in Action for Peace
History & Philosophy
Stories and reflections on the Buddhist approach to life
Updates and reports from around the world
On March 29, the student division of Soka Gakkai Japan hosted a reconstruction symposium at the Hitachi Systems Hall Sendai in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, as part of their nationwide SOKA Global Action initiative.
At the symposium, the results of a survey carried out by student division members in the Tohoku region and Tokyo area on youth awareness of issues related to the March 11, 2011, earthquake, tsunami and ensuing nuclear accident were announced.
The survey collected responses from 1,905 students at 41 universities and vocational schools in Tohoku and 176 in the Tokyo metropolitan area. Respondents answered questions about the recovery process and how their outlook has changed since the disaster.
Asked whether they went about their daily lives with a conscious awareness of March 11, 30% of respondents stated "No or mostly no," compared to 17.7% in September 2011, indicating a decline in awareness and sense of urgency concerning the disaster.
Tohoku respondents seemed more practical in their focus than those in Tokyo. When asked what is necessary for reconstruction, 50.7% of Tohoku respondents identified the economic resources of central government, against only 36.1% of Tokyo students. When asked what students can do to contribute to reconstruction efforts, those in Tohoku more readily identified volunteering--37.7% of respondents against 25.4% in Tokyo.
Carried out between December 2013 and February 2014, this survey is the third conducted by the Soka Gakkai Japan student division, with the first held in September 2011 and the second in December 2012. The first two surveys only covered the Tohoku region.
Professor Toshiaki Muramoto of the International Research Institution of Disaster Science at Tohoku University, who helped design and supervise the survey, commented, "This survey provides a key insight on the changing levels of awareness of March 11 among Japan's student population… In and of itself, such an initiative helps to put a stop to rising ignorance on the issue." related article SGI-Chile Members Respond to Disasters On April 1, a magnitude-8.2 earthquake hit the northern coast of Chile causing landslides, power outages, interruptions in water supplies and triggering a tsunami.
Keynote speaker at the symposium was Hiroyuki Tamakake, Honorary Professor of Tohoku University, who spoke on Japanese responses to natural disasters.
Three students also shared their experiences of contributing to reconstruction. Tohoku University student Yoshiki Takatani reported how he supported relief efforts after March 11 from Niigata by making rice balls that were sent to help feed evacuees. Hideyuki Takamiya of the Tokyo University of Agriculture from Iwaki City in Fukushima shared his determination to return to Iwaki to work in forestry and Yusuke Wakabayashi of Tohoku University shared his research on how mutual encouragement can help develop richness of the heart.
[Adapted from a report by the Soka Gakkai International Office of Public Information and the March 30, 2014, issue of Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photo courtesy of Seikyo Shimbun]
International Youth Summit for Nuclear Abolition to be Held in Hiroshima on August 28–30, 2015
SGI Joins Faith Groups in Launching Statement Condemning Nuclear Weapons
SGI-Nepal Earthquake Relief Activities
Freedom and Diversity
Education: A Transformative Potential
SGI Attends Earth Charter 15th Anniversary Forum in Costa Rica
SGI-Panama Holds Peace Festival
SGI-Spain Holds Lecture on Elimination of Violence against Women