Humanitarian Activities

Back to listJun 16, 2012

Soka Gakkai Student Members in Tohoku Hold Symposium on Recovery from March 11, 2011, Disaster

The panel discussionThe panel discussion at Sendai Mediatheque

On June 16, Soka Gakkai student members in Tohoku held a symposium on how academic research can assist people in the recovery and rebuilding of their lives following the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami which devastated northeast Japan. The symposium was held at Sendai Mediatheque in Miyagi Prefecture and included a panel discussion on the same topic which highlighted the importance of scientific endeavor being based on the value of the dignity of life.

Keynote speaker Professor Yoshinori Yasuda of Tohoku University, where he teaches environmental management and sustainable technology solutions, introduced one of Nichiren’s major writings: “Rissho Ankoku Ron: On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land.” He emphasized that altruistic action is the central teaching of both the Rissho Ankoku Ron and the Buddhism practiced by the Soka Gakkai and spoke of his hopes for the youth present at the symposium to become people who can contribute to society through scientific research.

Mr. SuzukiMr. Suzuki and his rescue robot

Four Soka Gakkai graduate student members studying in Tohoku then spoke of their efforts to contribute to the recovery of the area and those affected by the disaster. Takahiro Suzuki, whose research focuses on rescue robots, expressed his hope that his research could be useful in future disasters.

Nobuo Sugimura, who researches small satellites, spoke of his plans to use the satellites to photograph the gradual reconstruction of Tohoku as a way of encouraging those affected by the disaster.

Mr. SugimotoMr. Sugimura repairing a small satellite

Azusa Kamiyama, who studies at Tohoku University and works for the Onagawa municipal government, drew on her experience of supporting and counseling earthquake and tsunami victims to highlight key factors in recovery, among them people’s inner strength and the compassionate support provided by family, friends and other people.

Akita Prefectural University graduate student Keisuke Tozawa also shared his determination to continue to study anti-seismic reinforcement and to improve the speed of the dissemination of information and response to disasters.

Vice President Yoshikichi Abe of the Miyagi University of Education commended the students for their efforts and expressed his hope that they would continue to be at the forefront of scientific development and of the practical application of science to benefit children affected by the earthquake.

[Adapted from an article in the June 25, 2012, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photos courtesy of Seikyo Shimbun]