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Humanitarian Activities

Back to listMar 14, 2012

Women and Reconstruction Conference Held in Tokyo

Ms. Takahashi and Ms. NakanoMs. Takahashi (front row, right) and Ms. Nakano (second row, right) listening to Prof. Clements' lecture

The Soka Gakkai Women’s Peace Committee hosted its second conference on “Women and Reconstruction” at the Soka International Center in Shinanomachi, Tokyo, on March 14, attended by 200 people.

Following welcoming remarks by Kayo Maeta, chair of the Women’s Peace Committee, two women from areas directly affected by the March 11, 2011, disaster then shared their personal experiences of struggle and hope.

Sanae Takahashi, 70, from the coastal town of Oarai, Ibaraki Prefecture, described the challenge of rebuilding her seaside restaurant, named "Mama's Eatery," after it was ruined by the tsunami. Recognized for her leadership skills, she was also reappointed Women’s Leader of the Fisheries Cooperative to help revive her community. She recounted how she had been inspired by the words of President Ikeda, who, in his message to the members in the disaster-stricken areas, reiterated Nichiren's words “winter always turns to spring.”

Miyako Nakano, 64, who lived just 4.5km away from the Fukushima nuclear reactor, described her struggles as she was suddenly forced to evacuate on March 12. Her son still works at the Fukushima plant, but she and other family members have determined to start afresh in Saitama Prefecture, encouraged and welcomed by local Soka Gakkai members. She has taken up her hobby of traditional Japanese dance again.

Prof. Kevin ClementsProf. Kevin Clements

Professor Kevin Clements, Chair of Peace and Conflict Studies at New Zealand’s University of Otago, also spoke on “Compassionate Reconstruction: Facing Precarity and Rebuilding Community After Tohoku and Fukushima.” Professor Clements quoted research which confirms that women, unlike most men, know that their safety, security and resilience lies in the quality of personal relationships and the community they live in. He stressed that building compassionate communities requires having women in positions of decision-making responsibility.

He also commented positively on SGI President Ikeda’s 2012 peace proposal, which calls for the strengthening of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 in recognition of the significant contributions of women in post-disaster reconstruction and rehabilitation.

Akemi Tsukiji, director of Women's Peace Culture Center gave final remarks.

[Adapted from a report from the SGI Office of Public Information (SGI-OPI); photos courtesy of SGI-OPI and Seikyo Shimbun]