Reaching Out to Japan

The earthquake and ensuing tsunami that struck Japan on Friday, devastating entire regions of the country and shocking the world with their force, has impacted brutally on towns and cities where a strong Slow Food Japan association has been active for many years. The global Slow Food network is expressing its solidarity with the national association, sending our best hopes for the members joined in numerous convivia and projects in areas worst hit by the disaster and in Sendai where the Japanese office is located.

Slow Food Japan vice-president Ishida Masayoshi was able to provide us with an update from Tokyo: “We have not had any news of victims or fatalities of the disaster among those involved in the national Slow Food network, but this natural disaster will impact on the lives of entire towns and communities such as Sendai, the city worse struck by the tsunami and home to the Slow Food offices. At the moment it is very difficult to contact our members in the northeast area of the country, but we know that Kesennume was leveled by the massive wave and other cities with Slow Food convivia, such as Hachinohe have been hard hit.”

Ishida also outlined the looming threat following damage to one of more nuclear power station: “The explosion in the nuclear power stations has created further alarm and concern here, with the plants seriously damaged by the earthquake and aftershocks. The news updates are increasingly alarming: beyond the immediate and medium-term health impact on the population, contamination would have a devastating and long-term impact on food production in Japan. Radioactive soil remains so for hundreds of years. Agriculture would be brought to its knees, and quality production, such as our Slow Food Ark of Taste products, would disappear completely,” concluded Ishida.

Slow Food’s international headquarters in Italy have been flooded with requests for information from the Slow Food network worldwide, and from people in all corners of the world wishing to express their solidarity with the people of Japan.

In the words of Paolo di Croce, General Secretary of Slow Food International: “We are all with you in our thoughts, we offer our deepest condolences and hope that this situation can be overcome as quickly as possible. The Japanese are a strong population, full of pride and always ready to get to work. Once again your strength will guide you through this period of reconstruction.”

If you would like to write a message to Slow Food Japan, you can do so on the Slow Food International facebook page.

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