Mr. Toshihiro Nikai addressed at the Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction


Mr. Toshihiro Nikai, Member of the House of Representatives of Japan, made remarks at the inaugural ceremony of Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction on 3 November, 2016 in New Delhi. The provisional translation of his speech is as follows:
 
Speech by Mr. Toshihiro Nikai,
Member of House of Representatives of Japan,
at the inaugural ceremony of
Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction
3 November, 2016, New Delhi

I am Toshihiro Nikai, Member of Japan’s national Diet, House of Representatives. I am very pleased to be granted an opportunity to make remarks at this Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction. Let me express my respect to UNISDR, the Government of India and their staff for their efforts to have realized this conference.

This is the first conference to be held in Asia to promote “Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030” adopted at the 3rd UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in March last year. The last day of this AMCDRR, 5th November, is the first “World Tsunami Awareness Day” unanimously adopted with 142 co-tabling countries at UN General Assembly last December.

Asian countries facing the Indian and Pacific Oceans are always exposed to the threat of various natural disasters including tsunami. It also means that we have accumulated a good deal of expertise through overcoming bitter experiences. Therefore, I can confidently say that the leaders in disaster risk reduction (DDR) who are present here today from many countries have always led the global discussion in this area.

In Japan, there’s a famous anecdote of “Inamura-no-hi (burning of harvested rice sheaves).” More than 150 years ago, a leader of a village saved the lives of other villagers from a large tsunami, by setting fire to his sheaves of rice as an early warning and thus helped them evacuate to a higher ground. He then invested his own fund to construct breakwaters to build back the village better than before.

Needless to say, prior investment in DRR such as early warning system and breakwaters is important. But the more important are people’s concerned efforts, including children, through correct understanding of the danger posed by tsunamis and of the importance of precautionary measures.

Japan will host the “High School Students Summit on the World Tsunami Awareness Day in Kuroshio” later this month. We invite more than 250 students from all over the world including Asian countries in the Indian and Pacific Ocean.

Growing awareness of DRR among children will definitely lead to DRR in the future. In order to expand such efforts to the global arena, I would like to initiate “endeavors to protect precious lives of the world”, hand in hand with “Youth Ambassadors for the Tsunami Awareness Day.” I would like to garner support from all of you here.
 
Thank you.