Since the tragic events of 11 March the BCCJ, like many organisations in Japan, has been presented with an extraordinary situation. One of the key challenges centres on the dissemination of information.
Our priority has been to keep members up to date with developments via email, our website and social networks, guided by the British Embassy Tokyo. At the same time, we have been working with NGOs and local volunteer groups in Tohoku to obtain timely reports on what is most needed by those worst affected by the disaster. In addition, daily contact with NHK World’s newsroom allowed us access to stories as they broke.
When it became clear that events at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant were deemed more newsworthy than the humanitarian crisis, we strove to present facts from scientific and health authorities that would help quell fears about radioactive fallout reaching Tokyo. Our unofficial motto became “keep calm and carry on”.
Since the disaster, an overwhelming majority of our inbound correspondence has come from members and non-members who are “carrying on” and looking for ways to contribute to the relief effort. Also flooding in are offers of help to support member businesses and the BCCJ Secretariat.
It has become more apparent than ever that one of the Chamber’s most crucial functions is to connect the dots between individuals, organisations and firms. So the BCCJ, supported by the embassy, has organised a disaster relief forum. The purpose is to facilitate a dialogue between firms, NGOs, volunteer groups and media about short-, mid- and long-term responses to the relief effort. While we do not say we have all the answers, we are driven to act as a conduit linking the above groups, each of which has a wealth of information and resources to share.
There is still great demand for the government, NGOs and corporations to deliver information on how they are collecting, organising and disseminating information about the situation in Tohoku, in particular developments at Fukushima.
The UK’s chief scientific advisor, Sir John Beddington, has said “We are not out of the woods yet”, reminding us of the need to keep a close eye on events at the facility; areas of uncertainty regarding current situations and information remain.
One thing is certain: the BCCJ is fully committed to navigating the complex information environment to provide members with relevant and reliable sources and resources. This should help members make informed decisions about their life and business in Japan.
Our sympathies and condolences are with the people of Tohoku. We sincerely hope for the earliest recovery of the afflicted areas.
Those with questions, comments or information to share, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org