Latest News

Back to List
Mon 16 March 2015

Event Report: Giving Back to Japan III, March 11, 2015

The NCCJ, in cooperation with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Japan, held its third Giving Back to Japan event at the American Club of Tokyo on March 11.

The Tohoku region was struck by a massive earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster on March 11, 2011, which took thousands of lives and devastated communities all along the coast. Many thousands of residents are still living in temporary housing. The Giving Back to Japan events are meant to bring attention to the efforts by the foreign community, in particular the Dutch community and its partners, to help the people of Tohoku.

NCCJ Chairman Hans van der Tang started things off with an introduction and background of the event, which is now in its fourth year.

Dutch Ambassador Radinck van Vollenhoven gave a special welcome and spoke about the Netherlands’ long history with Japan, as well as its efforts to help the Tohoku region recover from the disaster.

Martin van der Linden, founder of van der Architects K.K. and a board member of the Oranda Jima Foundation, gave a presentation on Orandajima House, the beautiful after-school facility and community center he designed for Yamada-machi, a town in Iwate Prefecture that was devastated by the tsunami. The town has a long relationship with the Netherlands, with ties dating back to 1643, when villagers rescued crew members from a Dutch ship that had foundered offshore.

Shawn Lawlor, Director, Japan Operations Council of Forest Industries Canada (Canada Wood) outlined his organization’s efforts to help rebuild the region. The Canada Wood Group, a nonprofit association representing Canada’s forest industry, led the $4.5 million joint government and industry reconstruction project in Tohoku. The Canada Tohoku Reconstruction Project has built a library and a very popular public market in Natori, Miyagi Prefecture, and a support center for the disabled in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, and donated wood for the Orandajima House project.

Neil van Wouw, governor of the CCCJ, gave a closing address, speaking of the efforts of the Canadian Chamber to help the people of Tohoku, including its participation in Gambatte 365, a website that shares stories of recovery after the disaster.

After the presentations, the audience of about 60 people gathered for a socializing and networking session.

Event Photos