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2015/03/10For the 11 March 2015

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 As turning pages of page a day calendar, 11th March is coming again.
 Recently, I hear the news about the people who re-started their clock once stopped since the Great East Japan Earthquake. And they are challenging to open a door leading happiness for others.

 Last month, I received a parcel from a friend living in Tohoku area. I found red, shiny, beautiful, and very, very big strawberries in the box. I could smell berries even before I open it. There were nine strawberries lying on cushioning material. The strawberry is a rare kind and difficult to grow. Only one farmer is growing it successfully. Each wrap the strawberry is gently wrapped and one by one is shipped out all over Japan with senders compliment by only one fruit shop.

 The nine strawberries sent from Tohoku brought “Happiness” for nine people. Every person who ate a strawberry was filled with joy from the mouth to the heart. Gentle care by the farmer, good-wishes of gift-giver and passion of the fruit shop, everything was put in the strawberries. And it brought our happiest smiles.
 I would say
 “Arigato”  for the farmer.
 “Arigato”  for the fruit shop.
 And, “Arigato”  for my friend.

 There are many TV programs and articles on newspapers toward 11th March. Beside them, I ask myself if I am ready for any disaster/incidents. It could be happened anywhere and anytime. The preparation is not only to build stockpile and disaster kit. That is if I can make immediate decision, if I can be creative using limited devices, if I can bear the loneliness…  They are all in line with the energy to live and wisdom to live. What kind of action will I take on the emergency situation? What can I do? I may only know the answer when it happens. But, it is sure everything is based on the daily life. The consciousness we have in the daily life will lead appropriate action at each situation.

 “Be Prepared” is the words always in the mind of those who have been involved in Girl Scouting and Boy Scouting. Now, I reflect on the profound meaning of the words again.

 
Mariko Asano, National Commissioner, Girl Scouts of Japan

2014/03/11Message for the day of Mar 11 2014

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“I was really pleased when I received a pair of shoes. Thank you very much.”

After three years, the afflicted people gradually started to talk about the disaster. I can feel the clock is finally restarted to tick which had stopped on the 11th March 2011.

There is a word that comes to mind when we have a major earthquake and/or natural disaster. It is the words by Eric Khoo*. I met him in winter 2005. Mr. Khoo was the chair of the Asia-Pacific Regional Scout Committee of the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) at that time. And he attended the meetings between World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) and WOSM Asia Pacific Region held at Sangam World Centre in Pune, India. He understood well about WAGGGS’ works and made effort to encourage cooperative relationship between WAGGGS and WOSM. He was a generous and broad minded person.

At the meetings, we talked about the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake**. Then, he said, “Some people say we should send groups of Scouts in an emergency situation by a major natural disaster, but I would never agree with that. At the disaster site, Scouts must face with the devastated field, awful dead bodies, and smell it. I cannot bring young people for such places considering how they influenced and suffered from the traumatic experience.” I was very impressed with his insights which express clearly what we have to protect as a leader. It became one of my words to live by.

Too many areas and too many people were affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake. Although, I only watched the images of the affected field through TV programme, I still feel unrestful every time I watch.

Lots of people who lived through the disaster forced to start their life at an evacuation centre. What did children see and experience there? They should happen to see and hear messy situations of adults. They must be involved in a scene too much to bear alone.

 “When is the next meeting?”

This is what a girl said first of all when she met the chair of her troop at an evacuation centre. How do you feel and think from her words?

Her words added in my unforgettable words list. As a person who involves Social Education, her words always remind me for whom and for what we work and the importance to reflect on oneself.

Mariko Asano, National Commissioner, Girl Scouts of Japan

 

*Ex Board Member of WOSM, passed away in January 2014.
**The earthquake occurred on 26th December 2004 in the Indian Ocean off Sumatra. It is said 220 thousand people were dead or missing by the earthquake and/or Tsunami.

2014/02/27Girl Scouts of Japan institutes “KIZUNA Day” March 11

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Girl Scouts of Japan institutes “KIZUNA Day” Mar.11 as “Remember Mar.11” from 2014.
It would be an opportunity to be aware of “Be Prepared,Girl Scout Motto,” and prepare for earthquake and disaster prevention through the Girl Scouting in March.

 

“We will learn the rope works and first aid for disaster prevention.”

2013/10/18Girl Scouts of Japan vow to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

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Saturday, October 12, 2013 noon at Office of Prime Minister

Five Girl Scouts visited Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe today, celebrating the second International Day of the Girl. Girl Scouts of Japan has launched “Girls in the Lead, Girls Creating Future for Japan” campaign yesterday, promoting girls to take lead in society and change the country better for all girls and women in Japan.

Japanese Prime Minister Abe had recently said that the power of women is another source of major potential for Japan that has not been fully utilized. He called for women to fill up 30% of senior positions in all aspects of society by 2020. Under his strong and accelerating leadership, issues surrounding Japanese women are about changing drastically and talked at loud in Japan.

Girl Scouts of Japan has made “Three vows to Prime Minister Abe, for Creating Future of Japan”.

  • We, Girl Scouts will make the most with Prime Minister Abe, creating the world in which women’s potential is fully utilized.
  • We will be a leader who has a global perspective.
  • We will discover our potential and be confident with friends and be the person we’d like to be.


Girl Scouts asked Abe to make society in which our potential and talent will be fully utilized by the time we will be women of Japan. Abe said that it will be a long journey but it is possible and I will do it with speed by year 2020. Abe was nodding deep while girl scouts are stating their opinions, and also said, “The society Girl Scouts want is the society my policy is heading to.” “Thanks to you, the International Day of the Girl is now promoted in Japan,” he added.

Girl Scouts of Japan

PM listened to us!!

Girl Scouts shared their feelings after the meeting with PM as the following;

●Message from a girl scout of a university student;
I am pleased to have opportunity to meet with PM, and present our three vows directly to the current top leader in Japan. In our meeting I felt Japanese society expects many things to girls’ and ladies’ potentiality, and that made us more confident. I was encouraged very much by PM’s strong words that he would realize the Japanese society in 2020 as we girls hope or expect. For the improvement of women’s position, capacity building and issue resolution surrounding us I will do my best, and with consideration I will deliver the positive message.

●Message from a girl scout of high school student;
At first, I felt nervous very much. But I thought anyway we could convey our message to him. PM told us that he would guarantee the future where women would succeed. I was really happy about the fact that there was, with me, the political leader who listened to girls’ voices, and nodded deeply. At the same time, we, Girl Scouts, must keep trying hard for our future.

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