Below is a message from Dr. Eiji Mizushima on behalf of ICOM Japan sent 18 March 2011. We would like to share with with our New Zealand colleagues.
Dear my colleagues, Dear my friends,
First of all, on behalf of Japanese museum colleagues, I appreciate your many sympathetic e-mails.
We are very much encouraged by your e-mails and we shared your concerned voices.
Last week, on 11 March, several catastrophic earthquakes in Northeastern region of Japan were happened.
Because of this natural disaster, many villages and (of course, many cultural/ natural heritages including many museums) were disappeared from this land.
At the time being, we do not know how size of these damages, but we will know later.
Under these difficult situations, lifeline such as electricity, gas, road, are the first priority, and parallely food-supply, but unfortunately, probably you know, Nuclear Power Plant are also damaged.
Therefore we have no time to think of cultural properties by the government.
But I have to report to you all museum professions, over the world, that we Japanese museum professions, including the museums association and academy like a JMMA, have already began to set up the website to receive the all the informations of damaged museums, lost cultural properties (and unfortunately the personnel.)
We began to talk with Japanese ministry of education as well as Cultural Agency what we should do next for preserving the museum world in Japan.
Maybe it will take a much time to make an official report of these all damages, but thanks to your sympathetic e-mails, we are now very much encouraged.
And once again we have to confront the natural disaster, to face to the risk, to stand up to the earthquake, to venture to the damaged sites and the investigations of cultural properties.
As a chair, I worked for Japanese governmental Task Force Team to set up the ‘Risk management manual for museum’ during 3 years.
But to be honest, in front of these catastrophes, there is no meaning. How vulnerable we are!
I reflect myself and later I will contribute to share these experiences with you.
I send this e-mail in order to relieve your concerns.
Thanks again and I really hope to see you soon with a smile.
Dr. Eiji Mizushima
Prof. Tokiwa University