Since the Great East Japan Earthquake, we supported many different activities for the recovery and reconstruction of the Tohoku region. The experience of working with the communities heartened us in our belief, that we are and have to be a university collaborating with society. It is my responsibility as president of Tohoku University, to carry on the efforts and aspirations of President Satomi to further develop the university’s capabilities. We have to assure continued contributions to global communities through excellence in research as a leading university.
In June 2017 we were selected as one of the first three Designated National Universities by the Japanese government. As such, we will increase our global collaborations and engagement to provide innovative solutions to worldwide issues. In particular, we will advance projects in education and research to foster highly specialized experts, reinforce our research capabilities and promote our engagement with the communities. It is our desire to foster passionate young researchers and prepare them to be future global leaders, capable of solving problems as yet unknown. By 2030, we will establish an open and progressive university environment suitable for a top-thirty global university.
As comprehensive Designated National University at the center of the Great East Japan Earthquake Tohoku University we received much support from advocates of Tohoku University and we will continue to lead the regeneration of the Tohoku region as well as the progress of society itself.
The Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011, the combination of a huge earthquake, the following tsunami, and the resulting accident at the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Reactor, led to an unprecedented catastrophe, which also affected Tohoku University. Ca. 56.9 billion JPY worth of damages were afflicted primarily to buildings and research facilities, and the university had to put considerable effort into the recovery of educational and research activities. First and foremost, the University Hospital supported emergency response and medical care in disaster stricken areas, we communicated various information regarding the earthquake and tsunami, monitored radiation, dispatched rescue robots to the facilities of the nuclear reactor, and members of the university utilized their specialized knowledge to support various necessary activities after the earthquake. It has to be pointed out that many students also participated in volunteer activities for the community and engaged in recovery projects beyond university borders.
These contributions immediately after the disaster led to the realization, that we as a comprehensive university at the center of the disaster stricken area had and still have the responsibility to help and lead the regeneration of the Tohoku region as well as the restoration and subsequent rebirth of Japan. Therefore, we established the Institute for Disaster Reconstruction and Regeneration Research in April 2011 as a cross-departmental organization and promoted various projects for the regeneration utilizing our strengths as comprehensive university. Eight priority projects involving Disaster Science, Community Health Care, or Environmental Energy were initialized, as well as more than 100 individual projects suggested by our members.
It is our duty to communicate the experience and message to future generations both locally and globally and of utmost importance, that this knowledge and the resulting warnings will not be dissipated, that necessary projects will be carried on to assure the continuous development of the reconstruction. Especially the recovery from the catastrophe at the nuclear power plant is expected to take a long time. Therefore, it will be essential to promote necessary research as well as educate specialized experts, to continually collaborate with local and global institutes and organizations in the future. Together with residents in disaster stricken areas as well as our many supporters and collaborators, we will work toward restoration and the realization of a new society. We kindly ask for you continued cooperation and thank you in advance for your support.