The Chair of the Australia-Japan Foundation (AJF), Murray McLean OAM, has expressed his deep condolences and support for the people of Japan on the anniversary of the 11 March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
Following a commemoration at the Japanese Embassy in Canberra on 13 March, Mr McLean said Australia had been profoundly shocked by the events of last year and deeply moved by the dignity and determination demonstrated by the Japanese people as they set about rebuilding their lives.
Mr McLean said, like so many other Australians who had extended the hand of friendship in a time of need, the AJF, under its Reconstruction Initiative, was seeking to help devastated communities recover.
It is supporting a number of programs to assist the recovery effort. Among them, the AJF is helping to rebuild Australia House in the Echigo-Tsumari region, which was destroyed in a powerful aftershock on 12 March. For more information go to: http://echigo.australia.or.jp/en/reconstruction.
It will also fund a visit to Australia over March and April by 24 students from three schools in Minami-Sanriku, enabling the students to experience aspects of Australia's school and cultural life through home stays and classroom and cultural activities.
Other initiatives include support to the Fukushima Board of Education (BOE). The AJF will fund a playground for a new school that the Fukushima BOE is establishing for children displaced by the accident at the Fukushima nuclear-power plant and will also help the board establish a mobile library service to communities in Fukushima Prefecture.
The AJF has, as part of its 2012-13 grants round, also invited applications for projects aimed at assisting communities in the Tohoku region recover from the earthquake and tsunami. Applications close on 1 April 2012. Further information is available at http://ajf.australia.or.jp/en/awards/grants/.