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When you hear the words “2020,” what kind of words, sounds or images do you have in your mind? Words you may think would tend to start with “D,” including death, devastating, disastrous, disease, disparity and desperate. We have seen a lot of painful news coverage; brushfires in Australia, the spread of the coronavirus, Black Lives Matter following George Floyd’s death, yet more deaths of prominent people like C.T. Vivian and John Lewis, and the explosion in Beirut, etc.

While 2020 has brought us a streak of bad luck, what have we successfully learned? The answers would vary, but among them is cooperation. In Beirut, the massive explosion left nearly 300,000 homeless. They desperately need shelter, food and sufficient medical supplies. Every country should send them any kind of aid immediately, following France. In this COVID-19 era, headlines in most newspapers read “vaccine race,” but what is the race for? Profit? Prestige? It is not a matter for one country, but for the globe.

Where is the word: cooperation? From brushfires to the human rights movement, regardless of developing or developed nations, putting such issues aside should not be allowed. Japanese think that racial injustice is a problem in America, but it’s a fact that it is a problem in Japan as well. We human beings must fight injustice, terrorism, climate change, pandemics, inequality and poverty altogether.

Some, me included, describe 2020 as the worst year, but I also think this year has taught us things we have ignored for a while, and I hope the world will be the better place to live. At last, I would like to send the deepest condolences to all souls affected by the pandemic, the explosion and natural disasters.

Yuki Moritomo

Narashino, Chiba Prefecture

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