Governor of Okinawa
Haisai gusuyo chuuganabira (Hello, everyone.)
I am pleased to announce that Okinawa will host the High School Students Islands Summit on World Tsunami Awareness Day in November 2017. This international conference is open to high school students from around the world and is designed to acquire knowledge about the risks of tsunami and how to prepare, in conjunction with World Tsunami Awareness Day.
November 5 was designated as World Tsunami Awareness Day at the United Nations General Assembly in December 2015 to raise international awareness of the threat of tsunami and the importance of preparing for them.
The High School Students Islands Summit on World Tsunami Awareness Day provides opportunities for high school students from Japan and abroad to discuss issues relating to preparing for disasters as next-generation leaders and as “Youth Ambassadors for World Tsunami Awareness Day.” The aim is to enable them to play a leading role in preparing for disasters and protecting people’s lives and property in the future. Okinawa will host the second High School Students Summit following the first Summit held last year in Kuroshio-cho in Kochi Prefecture.
For the Summit, high school students, or “Youth Ambassadors for World Tsunami Awareness Day,” from 26 countries including Japan will visit the island of “Bankoku Shinryo” *, Okinawa. The students are from islands countries that have similar natural environments to Okinawa.
The theme for the Summit is “We want to protect people’s lives – Let’s do what we can now upon learning and preparing for the threat of tsunami: Send the message of “Yui Maaru” spirit from the island of Bankoku Shinryo.”
“Yui Maaru” is Okinawan dialect meaning “mutual support.” As “Youth Ambassadors for World Tsunami Awareness Day,” high school students participating in the Summit from Japan and abroad will learn from each other about the threat of tsunami and measures to be taken to prevent and mitigate disasters, and will discuss what needs to be done to protect people through the “Yui Maaru” spirit.
I would like to introduce another dialect phrase of Okinawa - “Ichariba Choode” which means “once we have met, we are friends like brothers and sisters.” I sincerely hope that the Youth Ambassadors will make friends with one another and broaden international exchanges with the “Ichariba Choode” spirit, and that they will go on to play a leading role in disaster risk reduction in their own countries and regions in the future.
Students from seven high schools in Okinawa will also join this summit. I hope that many citizens of Okinawa will attend the Summit and take this rare opportunity to learn about how to prepare for tsunami.
Yutasaruguto Unigesabira (Thank you for your attention.)
Governor of Okinawa
* “Bankoku Shinryo,” meaning "Bridge between Nations," is the phrase symbolizing Okinawa. The phrase is a part of the description carved on the large bell at Shuri-jo Castle, one of the world heritage sites on the island. From the Ryukyu Dynasty era, Okinawa has been accepting people from overseas with their warm hospitality mind thinking “once we meet, we all become brothers and sisters,” and has been deepening and expanding the bonds among people in its long history.