Emperor Naruhito delivered a keynote address at an online U.N. session on water and disasters Friday.
Using photos and diagrams, the emperor delivered his 25-minute speech, titled “Passing on the Memory of Disasters,” in English.
The emperor touched on the importance of passing on the records and stories of the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami to future generations.
He noted there are people working as storytellers who are passing along their experiences during the disaster and discussed related remnants and monuments.
The emperor pointed to the need for people to find out what our ancestors experienced during the 1918 influenza pandemic and other pandemics in order to overcome COVID-19.
“As we pass on the memories of disasters and pandemics to our posterity, we can improve our preparedness for forthcoming catastrophes,” the emperor said.
“In this way, we can help to build a society in which everyone, with no one left behind, will be able to enjoy daily lives filled with health and happiness.”
“I, together with you, will pursue my efforts toward this end,” he said.
Making it his life’s work to study issues associated with water, the emperor has attended all past U.N. special sessions on water and disasters except for one in 2019, the year he ascended to the throne.
He delivered speeches on two such occasions at the U.N. headquarters in New York and made an appearance via a video message once.
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