TAMURA Takayuki's son, Kenta, was 25 years-old and working in the town of Onagawa, when the tsunami swept him away during the Great East Japan Earthquake. It's been nine years now, and Tamura, together with his wife, have been actively involved in teaching people the preciousness of life and how to be prepared for a tsunami. "We've met a lot of people, and they give us courage to continue," says Tamura. He made it his mission in life to talk about his son in order to demonstrate how important it is to build infrastructure to protect lives.
Asked what he would do if he sees Kenta in another world, he said he wants to be able to tell him, 'Your life played a great role in creating a safer society'. That's how Tamura wants to spend the rest of his days. He is determined to show his cheerful spirit to the people of Japan, with Kenta in his heart.
Can you describe to us your son, Kenta?
He was a mischievous, lively kid, who was running around on his bare feet all the time. He loved playing in a sand pit on sunny days. When he wanted get something done, he was so focused and determined. He was the centre of our household and always gave us courage and lifted our mood. He was such a reliable person.
Can you share with us some of the memories you have of your son Kenta?
I used to play and catch ball with Kenta and we started to dream together about him being able to play at the Koshien Stadium. When he was in second grade at middle school, the two of us travelled to see the stadium. He was a catcher in the high school baseball team. I encouraged him every day. Although there were some days when we disagreed on something, I will always treasure the memories when we were trying to achieve goals together.
What do you want to emphasise most when you talk to people about disaster prevention?
The fact that there were some lives that could have been spared during the disaster. We should be prepared for the worst and do our best in an emergency. I want everyone to live with the awareness that a disaster may engulf them even tomorrow. The most important thing is to be prepared to protect lives and to have a sense of awareness that crisis may hit you at any time. I want to tell the next generation that we live because of the help of other people, and that lives are more precious than anything.
What do you think we as individuals can do to build a safe society?
In the current society, surviving members of the families of the deceased have to raise their voices so that the causes of an accident can be studied and improvements can made. I want each individual to be aware of the fact that anybody can be the next victim so everyone should join in on efforts to build a society in which no one will ever lose a family member in a disaster.
Please share a few words with the people of Japan as a torchbearer.
I will run with my heart and soul, thinking about Kenta all the way, and I want to thank you for your support for these nine years!