March 10-12, 2012: Ambassador Dr. Sayed M. Amin Fatimie attended a series of memorial events between March 10th and 12th. These events served to pay respect to the victims of the March 11, 2011 disasters and to commemorate Tokyo Metropolitan Peace Day.
On March 11th, a memorial was hosted by the Government of Japan at the National Theatre. On this most somber of occasions, H.E. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda opened to speak on the events of the fateful day, express condolences to the victims and those who continue to suffer, and to share of efforts being made toward recovery. H.M. the Emperor addressed the crowd, expressing deep gratitude to the people as well as to the international community for supporting rebuilding efforts. Also addressing attendees were the representatives of the bereaved families who lost loved ones due to the disasters.
The speeches were followed by a flower laying ceremony participated in by the aforementioned, the speakers of the Houses of Representatives and Councillors (Hon. Mr. Takahiro Yokomichi and Hon. Mr. Hidehisa Otsuji respectively), Hon. Chief Justice Hironobu Takesaki, the leaders of Japan’s political parties, and the Ambassadors in attendance. In total, about 1,200 people attended the memorial.
On March 12th, Ambassador Fatimie joined a memorial reception hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan at the Iikura House, organized for, among others, representatives of the international community in Tokyo. H.E. Minister Koichiro Gemba opened the event by expressing sincere gratitude to Japan’s international allies for the sympathy shown to the people and Government of Japan during the disasters and their aftermath. H.E. the Minister further offered condolences to those worst affected by these tragedies. While describing the nation’s determination to rebuild the damaged areas, H.E. the Minister reiterated Japan’s commitment to continuing its ODA throughout the world. Attendees also heard from Hon. Representative Kozo Watanabe, who is elected from Fukushima prefecture (and head of the Afghan-Japanese Parliamentarian Friendship League) and spoke on behalf of all Hon. Representatives from the prefectures of Fukushima, Iwate, and Miyagi; and from an Hon. Mayor Isamu Sato of Kurihara, Miyagi. Students from these greatly affected areas then performed a song for attendees.
Following the moving speeches and performances, Ambassador Fatimie had the fortunate opportunity to speak with H.E. Minister Gemba, expressing deepest condolences, on behalf of the people and Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, on the tragedies and the challenges that persist, and offering respectful appreciation of Japan’s continuing support of Afghanistan’s peace and development despite its own challenges. Furthermore, the Ambassador expressed gratitude for Japan’s initiative in hosting the upcoming Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan, scheduled for this summer. H.E. Minister Gemba in response called for shared efforts to ensure a successful conference. Ambassador Fatimie also had the honor of meeting with Hon. Representative Makiko Kikuta.
On March 10th, Ambassador Fatimie attended the 22nd Tokyo Metropolitan Peace Day Memorial events at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. The event served as a tribute to war victims, featuring a ceremony and a memorial concert. Hon. Mayor Shintaro Ishihara hosted the event.
(photo above courtesy of the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Tokyo).