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Minato Unesco Association

-An opportunity to think about UNESCO, war and peace –

MUA welcomed the visit of the UNESCO committee members from the Mita municipal senior high school
-An opportunity to think about UNESCO, war and peace –

Date: December 14, 2022
Venue: Minato City Life-long Learning Center

The visit to MUA by the UNESCO committee members of the Mita municipal senior high school resumed after a 3-year suspension due to the pandemic.  This was the nineth visit.  We welcomed a total of 21 students, chaperoned by OHNO Toyoji-sensei.  At first, MUA secretariat introduced an outline of MUA’s activities, touching upon specific examples.

 President Tanabe talked about his dramatic personal experiences during the last war.  Due to his father’s business relocation to Manchuria, he once boarded one of the three vessels which started to sail across the Sea of Japan where they were vulnerable to possible attacks by torpedoes.  Only his vessel could make it to the coast of mainland China.  It turned out that, in fact, this relocation saved his life because he had temporarily lived with his grandparents in Hiroshima, in the central area where the A-bomb was dropped.

 Toward the end of the war, an increasing number of Russian soldiers invaded the streets of Manchuria where his family lived.  The soldiers demanded that one per three Japanese men be selected as a laborer to work in Siberia.  When the Japanese decided it by lottery, his father fortunately evaded the selection.  After Japan lost the war, his family returned to Japan but they had to face a harsh reality – meager life without electricity or gas.  From the war-torn devastation, Japan started to make a patient step-by-step recovery during the post-war years and finally became a major economic power in the world.

 Then President Tanabe introduced his personal perception of Japan today and tomorrow.  Although Japan is seemingly a peaceful country, it is actually exposed to various international risks.  For example, media reports on hegemonic disruptions, including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, China’s intimidation toward Taiwan, and North Korea’s acceleration in military buildup and hostile actions.  He wrapped up his talk by reminding the students of the critical importance for them come up with their own thoughts on how to build the future of Japan.

 At the end, Ms. Furuichi, Standing Director and a member of MUA’s Youth Committee, gave a comment, saying, “It was fortunate for me to join you students in listening to Mr. Tanabe’s experiences during the last war.  I renewed my recognition of how important it is to share different notions across generation.”  She also recommended the students to join various MUA events planned in the future.

(Written by SHIMPUKU S., Secretary General, and translated by TANAHASHI S., the PR & Internet Committee)