June 22, 2011 Tokyo
On 22 May 2011, the “Post-Earthquake Rebuilding Support Symposium” was held at UNU Headquarters in Tokyo, Japan. The symposiums’s keynote address was given by Prof. Shigeatsu Hatakeyama, founder of the non-profit organization “Kaki no Mori wo Shitau Kai” (“NPO Mori wa Umi no Koibito)”, which promotes the natural ecological link between forests and the ocean. He is also a professor at Kyoto University and a resident of the area hit by the tsunami, where he runs a marine fisheries operation that was affected by the disaster.
In this interview, conducted by UNU Vice-Rector Kazuhiko Takeuchi, Prof. Hatakeyama discusses his experiences during the Great East Japan Earthquake on 11 March, when he witnessed first-hand the massive tsunami that destroyed his town and the livelihoods of its residents. He provides insight on the reconstruction process and a vivid description of the terrifying disaster. He also offers a look into the hearts of the courageous people who lost everything, yet do not blame the sea or the tsunami, and now seek to return to rebuild their homes and lives.