LSV Celebrates 50th Anniversary: Humanitarian Aid Activities Supported by LSV

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Awarding of Golden Order of Merit to Mr. Shimizu (right), Chairperson of LSV, by President Konoe (left) for 50 years of LSV volunteer activities.

The Japanese Red Cross Language Service Volunteers (LSV) celebrated their 50th anniversary on October 25 at the head office of the Japan Red Cross Society (JRCS). Members of the LSV, which was established in 1965, use their language skills to provide interpretation and translation support. The LSV began as the Translating Service Volunteers, providing interpretation and translation assistance to the foreign participants in the 1964 Tokyo Paralympics.

The Chairperson of the LSV, Kenji Shimizu, who was an inaugural member and has rejoined the group, made an opening address. He explained how, at the beginning, they increased the number of members from the original six members, each a student, by having each one recruit another ten members. He stated LSV’s resolve to participate in activities that meet the needs of society based on two points: supporting the JRC’s humanitarian mission by providing language services and developing volunteers who have an international perspective. These points reflect the purpose of the LSV.

The JRCS President, Tadateru Konoe, also spoke. In his congratulatory address, he emphasized the importance of verbal communication in helping immigrants and refugees avoid becoming isolated from the community. He sent hearty cheers to the LSV, saying that “it will be LSV’s turn” in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.

Mr. Yasuo Tanaka, Deputy Director General of the JRCS’s International Department (and currently Special Advisor to the chairperson of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies), who was an LSV member during his undergraduate days, also spoke at the event. He emphasized that the functions performed by JRCS volunteers will increase. He thus hoped that the LSV will become more actively involved in the JRCS. In particular, he called on the LSV to “offer opinions and make requests,” “work to make the JRCS an organization in which volunteers act as core members,” and “undertake activities that will enhance the linkage with young people and further collaboration among volunteers worldwide.”

※ Many of the articles, including this one, in the news section of the English version of the JRCS website were translated by an LSV volunteer.”