An appeal concerning cultural and artistic activities

First, I would like to express my deepest condolences for all those who have lost their lives as well as my sincere sympathies to the people affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake. It is heart-breaking to note that there are still so many people missing in the region, and so many people living in extreme fear and hardship.

I understand that given the current circumstances, traditional events, along with activities in the cultural and artistic spheres have been significantly reduced due to the possibility of further earthquakes, scheduled blackouts, and moreover, a general sense of restraint. Culture and the arts serve the very important role of comforting people and providing spiritual power, strengthening regional bonds, and offering people hope for tomorrow. The reduction of such activities is not desirable for either the economy at large or society. Therefore, it is vital to help everybody regain their former active lives by reinvigorating cultural and artistic activities in all parts of Japan in order to restore vigor throughout the entire country, which in turn will further strengthen the nation's ability to provide support to the affected people. This will also demonstrate to the international community, this country's resilience and its resolve towards a full recovery.

I feel encouraged to see that in many parts of the affected areas, in addition to the many kinds of life care programs, there are numerous activities of culture and the arts, which give comfort to and encourage the affected people. This is because we all know from past experiences that culture and the arts provide vital spiritual support for the endeavors of people towards rehabilitation. Indeed, I have also witnessed many charity events organized in cultural and artistic areas in and outside of Japan since this disaster struck, which successfully united people in extending their support and assistance. The widespread demonstrations of support by artists outside of Japan have reminded us of the strong ties artists have across the borders and the power that lies within the arts.

The Agency for Cultural Affairs is determined to actively implement its existing policy measures to promote culture and the arts, and to provide hope and encouragement to people in disaster-stricken areas by extending assistance for local cultural and artistic activities.

I appeal to everybody in Japan to direct their sympathies for disaster victims toward support for vibrant rehabilitation and reconstruction in their own respective ways, and by actively engaging in cultural activities at all levels, while also giving due consideration to the power situation and various safety issues.

12 April, 2011
Seiichi Kondo
Commissioner of the Agency for Cultural Affairs