ISLAMABAD: Japanese Ambassador to Pakistan Hiroshi Oe hosted a reception on Tuesday to pay tribute to the victims and their bereaved families affected by the atrocious earthquake that shook Eastern Japan a year ago.
Several government officials, diplomats, politicians and members of the international community got together on the occasion of the first anniversary of the east Japan earthquake.
A red carpet led the guests to the main hall of a local hotel. At the entrance, hundreds of handmade cards from Pakistani schoolchildren were displayed, while messages of Pakistan-Japanese friendship and support of Pakistani children as a token of goodwill was also showcased.
Ambassador Oe along with his wife and other embassy officials stood at the entrance greeting the guests to the event. As per tradition, national anthems of both the countries were played and a minute of silence was observed to pay tribute to those who lost their lives.
Ambassador Oe said that a year after the disaster that caused almost 20,000 deaths, Japan was now on the path towards revitalisation, after being in the recovery phase for months supported by countries around the world including Pakistan.
Oe said that basic facilities and infrastructure in the affected regions have been restored speedily and steadily. “Life has returned to normalcy in Tokyo and in almost all parts of Japan,” said the ambassador. He added that the supply chain has been completely put back to normal and Japan has recovered to do business, education and even sightseeing.
“I would like to renew my appreciation to the Pakistani military personnel for sending emergency relief supplies to the two hardest hit regions – Iwate and Miyagi,” said Ambassador Oe.
Sushi made with premium quality rice from Miyagi and Japanese beverage sake from Iwate was served to the guests. “These are the prefectures that received emergency relief supplies from the Pakistani military,” said Oe.
Sake from other disaster-affected areas like Ibaraki and Fukushima was also served. Oe said that the farmers and sake brewers of these areas quickly restored their production after the Earthquake.
He said that Japan will continue to share lessons learned from disaster with the international community. Since Japan and Pakistan are both disaster-prone countries, both could further enhance cooperation in the field of disaster prevention and post-disaster reconstruction. He added that Japan was now supporting the Pakistani authorities to formulate a master plan for disaster management.
The Japanese government has provided more than $500 million to Pakistan as an emergency assistance for the two major floods over the last two years.
Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s Dr Farooq Sattar, Senator Aitzaz Ahsan, Aftab Ahmad Sherpao of PPP-S, Awami Muslim League Pakistan’s chief Sheikh Rasheed and Senator Tariq Azeem were also present amongst other guests.