My message of caring, compassion, and hope to the people of Japan

My trip to Japan, nearly one year after it was struck by a devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, has been eye-opening on a number of levels. I’ve learned much by touring the shelters and finding out about the work they are doing on the ground to help animals that are still suffering and homeless after eleven months.

Me presenting to the dignitaries in the room on the work of American Humane Association

Me presenting to the
dignitaries in the room
on the work of American
Humane Association

American Humane Association was invited to participate in a special VIP luncheon hosted by our friends at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ of the Americas. Participants at the luncheon included leading animal welfare organizations in Japan and members of the U.S. Ambassador’s office. During my remarks to the group, I shared the story of American Humane Association and our renowned Red Star™ emergency rescue services with its century-long history of protecting our most vulnerable whenever disaster strikes.

Given the timing of my visit, I also brought a Valentine’s message of caring, compassion, and hope for everyone — humans and animals alike. As I detailed yesterday, American Humane Association is committed to helping the shelters still working diligently around the country to comfort and care for the animals from the Fukushima area. We are working with the Headquarters for the Relief of Animals in Emergencies – a coalition of organizations overseeing the relief effort — to assess the need and work to formulate a schedule of ongoing support from American Humane Association. We also plan to share insights on ways to protect children and animals from future catastrophes, whatever form they might take.

Rodney Tanaka of the U.S. Embassy in Japan

Rodney Tanaka of
the U.S. Embassy
in Japan

I’d like to share with you my remarks from luncheon, which you can read below. Tomorrow I will detail with my trip to Fukushima into the heart of the devastation. Thank you again for reading and for your continued support of American Humane Association and our work of protecting our most precious treasures, our children and animals.

American Humane Association
VIP Luncheon
Mandarin Oriental Hotel
February 15 at 12:00 noon
The Alder Room

Dr. Robin Ganzert Remarks

Good afternoon. Thank you all so much for coming today.

My name is Robin Ganzert and let me start out by telling you how honored I am to be here with people who value the most vulnerable and the voiceless in our society. I especially want to thank Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and all our friends there:

  • Masa Tanaka, the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ CEO for the Americas.
  • His daughter Ayako Tanaka, who has worked for months to help us prepare for this trip and make introductions to many of you.
  • American Humane Association Board Member Liz Lyman, who helped engineer this mission to help Japan’s most precious treasures.
  • Lee Linderman and Yuka Nakamura for spending so many hours making arrangements for hosting this special lunch.
  • And Mr. Yasuda and Mr. Oyamada, whom you will meet shortly.
Robin with Masa Tanaka, the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ CEO for the Americas

With Masa Tanaka,
the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi
UFJ CEO for the Americas

Most of all, I wish to thank the members of the Headquarters for the Relief of Animals in Emergencies — the brave and selfless coalition that has been working to lessen the suffering of thousands of animals affected by the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear incident last year — as well as members of the U.S. Embassy, who were kind enough to come and show their support for your work.

Thank you all.

I know something of your work because I have the privilege of serving as the president of one of the oldest humanitarian organizations in the United States, and the only one dedicated to protecting society’s children and animals.

For 135 years, we have worked to keep the most vulnerable in our society safe from abuse, harm, and disasters. In the United States we have changed the way children, pets, and all animals are treated, by intervening when necessary, helping to pass laws, engaging the renowned and powerful who have big voices to speak for the voiceless, and by finding science-based solutions to many of the biggest challenges we face in creating a more humane world.

Liz Lyman, of Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and American Humane Association Board Member

Liz Lyman, of Bank
of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ
and American Humane Association
Board Member

On March 11, 2011, when the earthquake struck Japan, the entire world rushed to help. We at American Humane Association put out an appeal to our nation, and thousands of Americans opened their hearts and responded, allowing us to send a shipment of greatly needed animal shelter supplies and a contribution to the organizations in this room.

Now, nearly a year later, we came back with a giant Valentine from the American people — a message of hope, love, compassion and caring to the Japanese people and their animals.

We feel very grateful to our friends at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ of the Americas for arranging this special meeting today. It is very encouraging to find a Bank that is not only a great business power, but one with a heart and a sense of community responsibility.

Mr. Oyamada, head of Corporate Social Responsibility at the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ
Mr. Oyamada, head
of Corporate Social
Responsibility at the Bank
of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ

To that end, I would like to ask Mr. Oyamada, who oversees Corporate Social Responsibility for Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ to share a few words with us…..Mr. Oyamada…..

Thank you, Mr. Oyamada. We are very grateful for your company’s caring enough to think about helping communities when they need help.

Like our friends in the Headquarters for Relief of Animals in Emergencies, at American Humane Association we know something about helping communities when they need help.

For almost 100 years, our Red Star™ Animal Emergency Services has been responding to disasters in the United States and around the world.

We have teams of highly trained responders who have saved nearly 70,000 animals in just the past few years. And even today, we are gearing up to respond to a new “Season of Storm” in the U.S. that will inevitably impact our communities.

I would like to show you a brief film that was recently shown on national television in the United States about our work so you can understand why we are so interested in helping here in Japan.
May we have the film, please?

Thank you for watching. Our dear friend, Steven Spielberg with his new movie, War Horse, depicts the founding of Red Star on the battlefields of WWI. And nearly one hundred years later, we are still here — rescuing animals and reuniting them with their families in times of disaster.

You know, many of the places you saw on the screen still need help a year later or even longer. So we understand that in Japan nearly a year later there is still work to be done. Because of the devastation, many people and their pets have still not returned to their homes, delaying the healing of many communities.

I would now like to ask Mr. Shiro Nakagawa, the chair of JSPCA and representative of the coalition, to share his thoughts, experiences, and what he sees as the continuing need.

Please click here for Mr. Nakagawa’s presentation.

Thank you Mr. Nakagawa. We have a similar mission — to protect the voiceless and the vulnerable. I come bearing the good wishes of many thousands of Americans and we wish to help your good work to continue.

Therefore we wish to set up a formal relationship in which we can support that work over the next 12-24 months.

We would be most pleased to make a grant to support the work you are doing. We would also like to make a financial grant to the shelters in Fukushima, which we understand are in great need, and would appreciate your advice on how we might be able to do that.

We wish to offer to all Japanese communities a hope for the future…in our many years of work, our Red Star team has created comprehensive disaster plans to help families and communities protect the most vulnerable — our children and our animals — by preparing them for such emergencies as typhoons, floods, and other disasters. We would be happy to share these with any and all who ask for them.

At this time, I wish to offer thanks again to all the good people in this room and offer a humble token of our esteem.

Presenting a model of our Rescue Rig to Shiro Nakagawa

Presenting a model
of our Rescue Rig
to Shiro Nakagawa

This is a model of the 82-foot long Red Star rescue rig you saw in the film, which for many years has been a symbol of hope, bringing help, medicine, and relief to children, families and animals when it arrived to help following tornadoes, wildfires, floods, and hurricanes — even the volcanic eruption of Mt. Saint Helens in our own Washington state. This rescue rig served our country well at 9/11 by serving the search and rescue hero dogs.

We are happy in a small sense, that through this small truck, the American people — and American Humane Association — are able to bring help and hope to Japan, both to help heal the wounds of 3/11 and perhaps to protect our children and animals in the future.

On behalf of American Humane Association, we thank you for your vital work, and please know that we stand ready to assist in the long-term recovery efforts.

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