Annual Meeting 2012

The Japanese Red Cross Society (JRCS) held their Annual Meeting on May 8, 2012 at Meiji Shrine in Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, in the presence of Honorary President HIM Empress Michiko, Honorary Vice-Presidents HRH Princess Akishino, HRH Princess Hitachi, and HRH Princess Takamado.

The meeting is held annually in order to show appreciation to those who work on JRCS operations on a daily basis, to confer honorary awards upon individuals and corporations who have made great contributions to JRCS activities, and thereby to promote further public understanding of the Red Cross [and participating in its activities]. Last year, being called off due to dedicating all efforts to the relief activities for sufferers from the Great East Japan Earthquake, this meeting, which was held for the first time in two years, gathered over 1,600 participants, including the JRCS staff members and representatives of the JRCS volunteers nationwide.

Sixty-one individuals and thirty-five corporations were selected as award recipients this year. Honorary awards were conferred upon thirteen representatives by HIM Empress, including Tomoko Hitomi from Ishinomaki, Miyazaki prefecture and Tsai Hsueh-ni from Taiwan.

In addition, president awards were bestowed upon the Kanisawa Red Cross Volunteer Corps (Higashine, Yamagata Prefecture) and the Tsubame Red Cross Volunteer Corps (Tsubame, Niigata Prefecture), which have continued relief activities for victims and evacuees from the earthquake and the nuclear power plant accident [in Fukushima].

Tadateru Konoe, President of the JRCS, reported that it had made all its efforts to develop the largest-scale relief activities right from the start of the disaster. Pointing out that Japanese people had given great attention to the relief activities including various services provided by JRCS volunteers, he emphasized, “Over 300 billion yen in donations has been collected, which reflects trust and expectations for the JRCS.”

Furthermore, he addressed with his strong determination, “In order to protect human life, health and dignity, which is the Red Cross mission, it is imperative to manifest the ‘Spirit of Togetherness’ and thereby we will surely assume the role to further strengthen bonds among people.”

During the meeting, practical activities were reported by Rieko Noguchi, manager of health screening center, Yokohama City Minato Red Cross Hospital, who worked on mental health care support after the New Zealand Earthquake and the Great East Japan Earthquake, and also by Yoshimi Akaihata, a Junior Red Cross member of Kenkita Junior High School, Kunimi, Fukushima prefecture, who carried out various school-wide activities in support of disaster victims.