March 2021 marks ten years since the East Japan earthquake and tsunami. In March 2012, we signed a “Basic Agreement for Cooperation and Collaboration” with the town of Otsuchi in Iwate Prefecture, where since immediately after the earthquake many students and faculty have continued activities for supporting affected areas there. The university has renewed this agreement every three years since, and we are doing so again in the hopes of a continued spirit of cooperation from fiscal 2021.
On 24 November 2020, Otsuchi Mayor Kozo Hirano paid University President Murata a courtesy visit. Starting with Mayor Hirano expressing his thanks for the University’s support to-date and informing us of the state of Otsuchi’s recovery, they then exchanged opinions regarding topics such as the University’s role and the town’s expectations during the renewed agreement period.
They then visited the Volunteer Center, where they chatted with students performing volunteer activities in Otsuchi. Mayor Hirano told them he hopes that once the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, students will visit Otsuchi not only to provide aid, but as a place for self-improvement, and that visiting students provide town residents with renewed vitality.
Entering the eleventh year since the disaster, a new stage in our relationship will begin.