The grandson of President Harry S. Truman and the nephew of Hiroshima peace icon Sadako Sasaki will lead a panel discussion on peace-making and restoration on Saturday, March 1, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Japan Foundation in Los Angeles.
Clifton Truman Daniel, grandson of the U.S. president who authorized the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, and Yuji Sasaki, nephew of the young girl from Hiroshima who succumbed to leukemia in 1955 as a result of the atomic bombing, will discuss pathways to peace as well as recovery and restoration from nuclear and natural disasters at this special event hosted by Japan Expo Zero 2014.
Entitled “Hajimemashite: Let’s Talk About Peace and Recovery,” the panel will also include disaster survivors who will discuss the recovery of Kobe after the earthquake in 1995, and Tohoku after the earthquake and tsunami in 2011. Speaking on these topics will be Kiwamu Funada, secretary general of the Recovery Assistance Center of Miyagi; Shu Kawashima, lecturer from Tokyo University of Agriculture; and Takahiro Niwa, chairman of the Japan Expo Zero committee.
Funada, a disaster survivor from Miyagi Prefecture, founded the Miyagi Center for Disaster Recovery Support immediately after the earthquake and tsunami hit. The center created refugee camps, helped to build temporary housing, and provided emotional support to elders and children in the affected areas. He has been a frequent lecturer in and out of Japan.
Kawashima, a veterinarian and educator from Fukushima Prefecture, took action three days after the disaster to provide support, and continues to assist children and animals to this day.
Niwa is an expert in public entrepreneurship and serves as a consultant in establishing legal entities for public services related to disaster recovery and management.
The purpose of Japan Expo Zero, according to event organizers, is to share the culture and heart of Japan with American audiences, and to learn from Americans how Japan appears to the American people. Through shared discussion and dialogue, their hope is to gain a better understanding of each other’s countries, cultures and people.
By bringing together Daniel and Sasaki, event organizers are hoping that this is the beginning of a continued dialogue about peace and a world free from nuclear weapons.
In fact, Daniel and Sasaki have already joined together in the peace movement as Daniel was recently named president of the newly formed Sadako Legacy USA, an American arm of Sadako Legacy, the Sasaki family’s non-profit based in Tokyo.
In 2010, Daniel met Sasaki and his father, Masahiro, at a peace event held at Ground Zero in New York City. They agreed to work together to deepen the understanding between their two countries, which are still divided over the use of the atomic bombs.
In August 2012, Masahiro Sasaki invited Daniel to Hiroshima to attend the annual memorial service commemorating the atomic bombing. Daniel, a former journalist, not only attended the ceremony, but also laid a wreath at the monument that remembers the 140,000 people who were killed there.
“I’m two generations down the line,” Daniel told Kyodo News while in Hiroshima. “It’s now my responsibility to do all I can to make sure we never use nuclear weapons again.”
He added that despite opposing opinions about nuclear weapons in the U.S and Japan, “The important thing is to keep talking, to talk about all of it.”
Along with the panel presentation, a number of specialty booths will be set up and various representatives will be selling peace-making merchandise, charity items to benefit disaster areas in Japan, and processed seafood goods from the Tohoku region. There will also be display booths featuring panel exhibitions about the current state of Tohoku.
The Japan Foundation is located at 5700 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 100. The panel presentation is free and open to the public. To participate in the event, email your name, organization and email address to [email protected] (in English) or [email protected] (in Japanese).