World Student Christian Federation - Asia-Pacific Region (WSCF-AP)
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Japan Student YMCA

A Message from Student YMCA/
SCM of Japan

August 2011
by Sayuri Mori, Student YMCA, SCM Staff
A Message from Student YMCA/SCM of Japan

Student YMCA/Japan SCM appreciates the sincere concern, support and prayers for Japan from all over the world. We feel the strong solidarity of the SCMs and your warm prayers.

We believe our solidarity will encourage the people of Tohoku area to rebuild their lives and our SCM members to continue helping the victims of the Earthquake. We are thankful that all our YMCA/SCM students and senior friends living in Tohoku region are safe after the earthquake.

The Tohoku region and Kanto region were affected by “The Great East Japan Earthquake,” with a magnitude of 9.0 was about 130km away of Miyagi Prefecture at 2:46PM, Friday, March 11, 2011. More than 15,600 people lost their lives and 4,700 people are still missing. 250,000 buildings were completely destroyed or partially-destroyed. There are more than 91,000 evacuees who are still staying in evacuation area and temporary shelters.

YMCAs of Japan continue to support the victims located in the Sendai YMCA and the Morioka YMCA. We set up the volunteer support center and dispatched staff to Miyako. We have been sending relief supplies and volunteers to Tohoku region after the disaster. You can see the photo and detail of our relief work on the web. (http://www.ymcajapan.org/).

Student YMCA/SCM started to support the stricken area right after the earthquake. We sent relief supplies and medical supplies to Tohoku area in cooperation with students and senior friends, who are Pastors, Doctor and counselor of school. Students of Student YMCA/SCM collected donation to support the victims staying in the cold street. We continue to send students to the stricken area as volunteers.

I myself went to Sendai as a volunteer with 4 students from Tokyo as a Student YMCA/SCM group. We worked with other volunteers in Wakabayashi area of Sendai, severely affected by Tsunami. We cleaned up houses and fields. There were many things and sludge that were carried away by the Tsunami.

It was very hard that we needed to separate necessary things and unnecessary things among sludge. Student’s impressions are “I saw our human network and relationship in stricken area. And I saw the affected area would be cleaned up step by step. We have to keep relating with people of Tohoku area.” Also some other students are planning to join volunteer work during this summer vacation.

In the aftermath of these disasters, we are now facing the threat brought about by the accident of the nuclear power plant. We have to think about the energy crisis and its policy. How can we get electricity? Can we choose other energy resources?

To respond to these questions, we invited Hitomi Kamanaka as a lecturer to The 39th Student YMCA/ SCM Japan summer seminar. She is a documentary filmmaker and anti-nuclear activist. She produced films such as the “Hibakusha at the End of the World”, “Rokkashomura Rhapsody”, “Ashes to Honey (Mitsubachi no Haoto to Chikyu no Kaiten)”, and she has been advocating against the danger of nuclear power.

We plan to see her film and listen to her lecture, and we would like to discuss these issues with the participants. She asks us, “How can we create a sustainable society?” We would like to think and discuss and share our thoughts and feelings in summer seminar from September 16-19 at Tozanso.