Just a quick post to share two notes we just received from our friends at Special Olympics Nippon (Japan) during this historically tragic time. I think it is so important that we all feel a connection to the great spirit of our leaders in Japan. Read on.


Dear Tim and all our friends,

Thank you very much for reaching out with such a heart-warming message.

  As you see on media, the tragedy is still evolving as we find more casualty.  At the same time, we hear some good news, i.e. more than 10,000 people have been rescued during last 48 hours.  The country has yet to find true outcome of this quake, and uncertainty still exists in particular around Fukushima nuclear power plants.

Under such high uncertainty, Special Olympics Nippon has put highest priority on safety for all our members, and has tried to understand the situation at prefecture programs, in particular those hit by the quake severly.  Fortunately we could connected ourselves with all 47 prefecture programs. Clearly, there is high difference in level of damage by geography, and still very little visibility on the true situation at northern programs (Iwate, Miyagi, et al).  Our biggest concern goes to athletes, families, and volunteers in these region.  Already over 100 hours have passed since the quake hit, and all Special Olympics members in Japan are praying for the safety of friends and colleagues in the region. Now we know more than 3 million friends across country boarders are wishing the same. Thank you very much indeed.

While it is still too early, we need to ensure our activities in Japan will continue and be stronger.  One testimony of this will be World Games in Athens, and we hope Japan delegates will demonstrate fantastic performance.  We are already working on how best prepare for World Games under constrained circumstance.  We also examine how we best to organize 2012 winter Nippon Games.

If we turn our eyes on nation-wide mood and atmosphere, I personally feel high morale among Japanese population despite enormous pressure.  Many people say this is time for collaboration, just as an example, people in Tokyo are saving power so that black-out will not happen in northern Japan.  We see many other micro behaviors to help each other that go far beyond personal acquaintances.  Similar spirit to Special Olympics.

We will certainly reach out to you and our global colleagues once we are clear what we need.  In the mean time, a direct message from you and friends across the global via twitter et al will provide energy to us.

Sincerely Yours,
Shinichi Yokohama
Special Olympics Nippon

Below is a note shared to our regional President and Managing Director of our Asia Pacific Region, David Rutherford:

Dear David,

Thank you very much for heartful note.

Yesterday we confirmed all Special Olympics Nippon staff were safe and fine, and now checking the same among board members. To the extent information is available, it appears all board members are fine too.

Our biggest concern resides on local prefectural program members, in particular those hit severely by the quake, tsunami, and nuclear.  On this, we are trying to take contact with them, but do not have visibility yet.  Honestly such invisibility of disaster situation is versatile and even Japanese authority is uncovering local situation hour by hour. All Japanese population is praying for the people in those areas.

Thank you very much for offer of help. We shall reach out to you once we know what we need.

Again, thank you very much.

Sincerely yours,
Shinichi Yokohama
Special Olympics Nippon

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