Leaders March 2016

Making it count

Value of helping communities

It’s nice to learn what happens to the people and projects featured in BCCJ ACUMEN after the presses roll.

In September 2015, we detailed how Robin Jenkins, senior lecturer at the University of the Arts London and volunteer at the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, is working for a community in Kamaishi City, Iwate Prefecture, devastated by the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. Along with his team, he dreamed of bringing to fruition a lifeboat, lifeboat station and coastal escape routes.

Now, five years after the disaster, Jenkins is back in Japan, accompanied by Chris Wainwright, professor and pro vice-chancellor of the university. A team has been working on the boat, which is scheduled to arrive in the summer. Housed in a shipping container that will serve as a lifeboat station, it will operate as “a lifeboat in a box”. Plans for a nature trail that can act as an escape route have also been developed.

In broader terms, this work—the Atlantic Pacific International Rescue Boat Project—will become a registered charity that will provide solutions for at-sea rescue and assistance.

Meanwhile, Wainwright has produced—in collaboration with Cathy Milliken—photos of moving lights against dark backdrops. Designed to explore the disaster’s effects, We Are All Stars was created because, on the night of 11 March 2011, people in Kamaishi reportedly remarked on the brightness of the stars in a sky unaffected by light pollution. Many asked if the stars might not be the souls of those who had been lost. In April, the exhibition will come to Tokyo.

Jenkins and Wainwright will be sharing updates at a lecture for the Japan-British Society on 4 April. For more information visit: www.japanbritishsociety.or.jp

Celebrating contributions
The ancient and modern treasures on this month’s cover are just a flavour of Japan’s global contribution in the fields of art, culture, fashion, design, technology and innovation. Given the UK–Japan connection of some of these pieces, it is fitting that they should be part of a newly refurbished display at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and the Rugby World Cup (RWC) 2015 were the most successful events of their kind to date. In terms of land use, east London was transformed. While the legacy of Tokyo 2020 is not yet decided, Japan may look to the UK for insights.

On visits to Japan, Neil Snowball of RWC 2015 explained the importance of community engagement if RWC 2019 is to truly succeed, and Bill Sweeney of the British Olympic Association highlighted partnership opportunities with Team GB ahead of Tokyo 2020.

Showing the positive societal impact that firms can have, Walk Japan is socially and economically supporting a rural community in Oita Prefecture. The firm’s attitude to corporate social responsibility runs deep, and is testament to what businesses can do for the population at large.