Report From The Venue — Thank You From Japan Opening Ceremony

The Consulate General of Japan is holding an exhibition of 80 pictures drawn by children from affected areas and photos and images from the disaster and the recovery process. The exhibition is being held to express Japan’s utmost gratitude to the Australian people for its sincere sympathy and massive support to Japan after the disaster.

In the opening ceremony held yesterday in MiFA, a large number of Consular-Corps Representatives, military/police representatives, State Government Department representatives, members of City of Melbourne Council, mayors, Parliamentary friends of Japan, Cabinet/Shadow Cabinet Ministers, and other VIPs attended this occasion.

Consulate General Mr. Hidenobu Sobashima welcomed the guests with a touching speech.

He reviewed the terrible catastrophe happened on March 11th 2011 that shook the world. He also expressed his gratitude and appreciation to the people of Victoria and Australia for the support and sympathies expressed to Japan.

Japan appreciate the solidarity shown by Australia and international community. PM Julia Gillard was the first head of the government to visit the affected areas. Also there was a donation of 2 million dollars given to Japan from the Australian government, along side private donations through mainly the Red Cross channel.

Mr. Sobashima also thanked the Japanese business for their support. He hopes that the international community will gain faith in Japan again, no matter it is business, sightseeing or studying. He also welcomed foreign business in the open reconstruction of the affected area.

His Hon. Alex Chernov, Governor of Victoria, also spoke to the guests. He expressed his sympathies and showed interest in cooperation in economic, social and educational aspects. According to him, the support to Japan from Australia reflected the characteristics of Australia, and he assured the Consulate General that Victoria will keep supporting Japan with the recovery and reconstruction.

His Hon. Ted Baillieu, Premier of Victoria, acknowledged the solidarity between Japan and Australia. "As a student of Japan many years ago, … I always felt a sense of affection", says Mr. Baillieu, he also emphasized that Australia and Japan are "always friends, always neighbors and always willing to help".

Mr. Bruce Atkinson and Mr. Tim Holding greeted the guests on behalf of the Legislative Concil and the Opposition, respectively. They both re-assured the Consulate General that the people of Victoria will stand with Japan and provide every support we can. "You walk on this path of recovery and reconstruction, you do not walk on this path alone," as Mr. Holding put it.

Miss Candice Raeburn, former participant of the JET program also shared her experience of the Earthquake with the guests. And at last, Wadaiko Rindo performed for the guests which also brourght the opening ceremony to the end.

The exhibition will be held over the weekend in MiFA in Melbourne CBD. The pictures and drawings are touching and optimistic, they represent the hope and optimism in the hearts of the Japanese people. If you are interested in Japan, or photography or just enjoy seeing the brightness of humanity, then you can not miss this exhibition.



Story and Photos by Sherry Chen


Photo and Drawing Exhibition – Thank you from Japan

When: Saturday & Sunday, March 10 & 11 (10:00am – 5:00pm)
Where: MiFA (Melbourne International Fine Art), Level 1, 278 Collins St, Melbourne
Entry: Free

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