“Thanks for your concern about us Japanese!“
Peking University, Apr. 9, 2011: Three weeks after the Japan earthquake, Fumiya Muramatu, president of the Japanese Student Association of Peking University (PKU), accepted an interview. He described the disaster as well as the reactions of Japanese people, expressing gratitude to the people who participated in the recent fundraising activity.
The fundraising activity at Shaoyuan Guest House (The first on the right was Muramatu)
Q: How has the Japanese students reacted since the earthquake hit? Can you describe a more specified situation for us?
A: It (the earthquake) occurred on March 11. A friend of mine called me at about 3 p.m. to tell me what had just happened when I was on the subway. I phoned my parents at once but was unable to get through, and I was relieved to be informed of their safety two hours later. Everyone was worried because of the limited information. The Division for International Student Affairs got in touch with each student soon afterwards to get the status quos of their families. Notice was posted on every door the next day. Others who went outing without a cell phone were also informed in various ways. Then I communicated with student affairs of other universities in Beijing to know the same work being done. Additionally, students from Tsinghua University and Beijing Normal University were chosen to participate in related program-making by the China Central Television (CCTV).
Q: As a foreign student living aboard, can you talk about Japanese people’s attitudes towards the disaster? What about the nuclear crisis?
A: The government failed to anticipate so huge a magnitude of the earthquake as well as the tsunami, not alone those problems with the nuclear stations. We sank into deep desperation at first. What with disastrous aftermath and incessant aftershock, some of us, especially the old even went mad. But yet, things seem to be back to the track now.
The calamity urged the government to reconsider the nuclear power strategy which is opposed by the majority. Instead, wind power is preferred for its safety.
Q: According to the related news reports, all Japanese people — including those at the center of the disaster area — kept in good order just after the quake. What do you think contributes to their composedness? Is there any daily work of earthquake prevention?
Japanese people sat on the sides of the stairs, ensuring that
the center remains clear and accessible (usqiaobao.com)
A: The latest earthquake I experienced was the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake in 1995, bringing widespread destruction to the city and surrounding areas. It was really intimidating to experience all these things, especially when I was only 7 years old.
At public elementary schools in Japan, earthquake drills are usually held once a month. If an earthquake strikes while they're in a classroom, children learn how to evacuate onto the school yard. The teacher leads them out of the building and calls “Don’t return, don’t rush, don’t push” to make sure everybody is safe. Besides, disaster prevention training takes place every year in local communities throughout our country.
Each family takes special precautions as well. For example, plenty of food is stored in advance, which would ensure a few days’ consumption. Besides, each family equips themselves with related tools and facilities, even a simple mobile toilet.
Well, aseismic grade of architecture is relatively high in Japan, so we don’t need to worry about the secondary disaster of earthquake. Houses could survive and sustain after natural hazard. Taking this earthquake for example, a massive earthquake occurred under the sea off the coasts of Fukushima Island. The magnitude of the earthquake was higher than 7.0 on the Richter scale. Shortly after the quake, the shores of surrounding countries were hit by a big tsunami. The earthquake and tsunami did not cause too much damage on buildings and roads near the shore.
Aseismic structure of architecture in Japan (21CN.com)
Q: It is reported that the government tends to use cartoon and animation to deliver knowledge of disaster.
Children learn how to take “first steps” to safety by learning from
a gesture game named "Disaster Prevention DUCK" (Web Japan)
A: Yes. Lots of training programs in Japan use such an original and fun approach so that children can learn and have fun at the same time.
Q: We have heard about a skeleton crew of 50 workers dubbed "The Fukushima 50," those workers who dedicated themselves to going back into the damaged nuclear power plants. They are recognized as national heroes because they are knowingly exposing themselves to potentially lethal radiation.
A: I believe virtues like honor, duty and self-sacrifice are imbued in the Japanese culture. As we grew up, our society and families emphasized many of these qualities. That’s why we do not scare of these natural disasters, and have faith in overcoming all these difficulties together.
These Japanese people exemplified Bushido values of responsibility and sacrifice for the benefit of the surrounding population and their country. In my opinion, most Japanese would do the same thing if they are under such circumstance.
Q: Recently, PKU Japanese Student Association has organized various activities concerning the quake. How are they going?
A: Many Chinese are helping us in organizing various kinds of fundraising activities in Beijing. And tonight there will be a fundraising concert.
Moreover, we launched fundraising campaigns on campus. Many students of PKU supported us and participated in the donation, including Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan and foreign students, but the majority was ordinary Chinese Mainland students, some of whom even donated several thousand yuan. They expressed their sincere compassion to the victims in earthquake and encouraged us wholeheartedly.
It reminded me of the Wenchuan Earthquake in 2008, when Japanese people offered much help and support to China. At this time, the Chinese and the Japanese joint hands together to face the challenges and help each other. I was deeply moved, and want to express my gratitude to those who participated in the fundraising activity. Thank you!
Reported by: Li Nuoya and Wang Yimian
Edited by: Arthars