Remarks by H.E. Mr. Tsuneo Nishida
Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations At the General Assembly Hall
5 March 2012
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to extend my warmest welcome and thanks to you for your attendance at tonight’s concert in commemoration of the first anniversary of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. I also wish to thank H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon and Mrs. Ban for their presence and to express my deep appreciation for his kind and encouraging words to the Japanese people. My appreciation goes as well to the Japan Foundation, which organized this concert.
I would like also to take this opportunity to express my deepest condolences to victims of the recent devastating tornados that struck the Unite States on Friday. The hearts of the Japanese people go out to the victims’ families.
Japan was struck by a disastrous earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011. This concert is being presented as a token of our heartfelt gratitude to the many people around the world who expressed their support for and solidarity with Japan in the aftermath of this disaster. On behalf of the Japanese people, I would like once again to express our sincerest and deepest appreciation for the steadfast support extended to Japan by the United Nations and many countries all over the world.
We must also fully acknowledge that during the past year a number of other countries around the world have suffered natural disasters ranging from floods and hurricanes to earthquakes. My thoughts go out to those people who are enduring such severe and trying circumstances. With that in mind, I dedicate tonight’s concert not only to the victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake but also to all people all over the globe who have been affected by disasters and conflicts. I take this opportunity to recall Prime Minister Noda’s words spoken on this podium last September, which reiterated Japan’s firm determination to make a substantive contribution to overcoming the challenges the world is facing and to shaping a brighter future for humanity.
In Japan, it is a tradition as in many other countries that friends and relatives gather with family members at memorial services commemorating the anniversaries of the deceased, during which we remember once again those beloved people in sorrow and tears. But we cannot live only in the memory of the past. We have to go on with our lives in order to make our families and friends happy. That is why many memorial services in Japan are followed by cheerful parties where we encourage each other, sometimes with lively music and tasty food.
Tonight, I would like to welcome the members of Wakumizu Kagura, a group from the Tohoku region of Japan who will perform traditional sacred music and dance; the drum group Ondekoza, who are considered pioneers of drum performance art, and many other prominent musicians. It is my fervent wish that these performances will fortify and reinvigorate your spirit, while honoring the memory of those lost during the past year.
Thank you once again. Now, please relax and enjoy the performance.