Remarks by Mr. Tsuneo Nishida
Permanent Representative of Japan to the UN
at the “Hikobae” performance
United Nations Dag Hammarskjold Auditorium
Monday, 12 March 2012
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is an honor and a great pleasure to welcome all of you tonight to this performance, Hikobae, commemorating the Great East Japan Earthquake which occurred one year ago. I express my sincere appreciation to H.E. Ms. Asha-Rose Migiro, Deputy Secretary-General, for joining us this evening. We are also fortunate to have Mr. Hidekiyo Tachiya, Mayor of Soma City, Fukushima prefecture, here with us tonight.
The word “hikobae” refers to the new shoots that sprout from a fallen tree. It symbolizes new breath and a revival of life. Tonight’s drama takes place in Soma city, which Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited last year. It tells the story of doctors, nurses and firefighters who struggled immediately after the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident. Many Japanese people in the aftermath of the tragedy demonstrated dedication and made sacrifices, and this drama focuses especially on individual lives on the frontline in the most difficult days.
Many of the guests here tonight, including diplomats, UN staff and members of civil society, have gone through many difficult situations ranging from natural disasters to conflicts. The expression of humanity in extreme circumstances portrayed in this play may overlap with your own experiences. Moreover, because of the important work that the United Nations undertakes in the area of disaster response and mitigation, I find it especially fitting to host Hikobae here at the United Nations headquarters. The theme of Hikobae is universal, and its powerful message speaks for itself.
Hosting Hikobae at the UN is also our expression of gratitude for the support and solidarity shown by people from all over the world after March 11. The UN performance of Hikobae is dedicated to the victims of disasters around the world. The world embraced Japan last year because our pain and sorrow were familiar to many people around the world who had also experienced similar tragedies. Our hearts are with them tonight.
One year has passed since the disaster, but the search for missing people still goes on. Many people are continuing with their lives in temporary housing. However, amidst such difficulties, the people of Japan are moving forward. We now witness many Hikobae, new shoots sprouting from fallen trees. I dedicate this play to all the people from the affected areas in Japan as well as the people around the world, represented by you.
Thank you very much. Now, please give a warm welcome to Mr. Hiedekiyo Tachiya, the mayor of Soma City.