On January 30 and 31, representing the Post-Disaster Recovery Committee of Tenrikyo Church Headquarters, Mr. Susumu Haruno, executive officer of the committee, visited the government offices of Fukushima and Ibaraki prefectures, which have been severely affected by the nuclear power plant crisis caused by the March 11 disaster, to deliver donations amounting to 120 million yen (about US$1.5 million). It has been over 11 months since the earthquake and tsunami devastated northeastern Japan. The affected regions are in need of continuous support to achieve full-fledged recovery.
Combined with the donations that had already been entrusted to Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima prefectural offices, the total amount donated by the committee to the four prefectures now came to 450 million yen (about US$5,625,000)—full amount raised through the “Tenrikyo Disaster Relief Fund.”
On the morning of the 30th, Executive Officer Haruno paid a visit to the prefectural office of Fukushima with a few others including Fukushima Diocese Superintendent Yuichi Hirasawa and met with Mr. Setsuo Sato, manager of the Health and Welfare Department of the local government.
After explaining that donations had been made by large numbers of followers, Mr. Haruno presented the donation with words of sympathy and said, “Please make use of the donation for the recovery of your region.” Representing the prefectural office, Manager Sato responded by saying: “I would like to express my appreciation for the donation from your followers. . . . We are truly thankful that you have organized large-scale support by providing us with volunteer relief workers and supplies starting in the immediate aftermath of the disaster.” After mentioning that the situations at the nuclear plants remained serious, he said, “We wish to ask you for continued support and assistance including providing emotional care for the victims.”
The next day, Mr. Haruno and others including Mr. Yoshinori Ogida, superintendent of Ibaraki Diocese, met with Ibaraki Governor Masaru Hashimoto in the prefectural office. During the meeting, the governor said: “We are really grateful that Tenrikyo followers have given support to the affected regions. For full-fledged recovery in the prefecture, I would like to implement the kind of policies that will live up to people’s expectations.”
Mr. Haruno then visited the Ibaraki Diocese Administrative Office to see its sanctuary, which is in the process of being repaired from the damage caused by the earthquake.
From March 15 to December 27 last year, a total of 920,741,586 yen (about US$11,509,270) were raised through the funds “Tenrikyo Disaster Relief Fund” and “Support Tenrikyo Disaster Efforts.” The Post-Disaster Recovery Committee has issued a statement: “We would like to once again thank all of you who have supported the funds for an extended period of time. As to the donations made to ‘Support Tenrikyo Disaster Efforts,’ we will also put them to good use in accord with the objectives of the fund.”