Speech by Akio Miyajima, Ambassador of Japan in Poland
Dzień dobry, (Good Afternoon,)
Dear All, my name is Miyajima Akio and I am the Japanese Ambassador to Poland.
One hundred years ago, the Japanese Red Cross helped to save nearly 800 Polish children from Siberia and transport them to their Motherland.
The children who got to Tokyo were taken care of by the Fukudenkai Social Welfare Corporation.
This beautiful history of humanitarianism is the foundation of the friendship between Japan and Poland.
I am very glad to host many descendants of the Siberian Children here today.
The fate of Siberian Children was forgotten for many years.
That is why I would like to pay tribute to the people who have contributed to recalling and popularizing this history.
In 2002, here in this Residence, the Emperor and the Empress of Japan met the three surviving Siberian Children. It was 20 years ago.
I heard that at that time all three Siberian Children were thanking the Emperor and the Empress of Japan for the help and care they had experienced in Japan.
In a few moments, all of today’s guests will have the opportunity to see this moving moment in a short documentary clip produced by Fukui TV.
After the Great Earthquakes in Kobe in 1995 and Eastern Japan in 2011, children from the affected areas were invited to spend their holidays in Poland.
In recent years, on the occasion of visits to Japan, President Andrzej Duda and First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda visited Fukudenkai. I consider it a wonderful gesture.
However, there are still many people, both in Poland and Japan, who still do not know the history of Siberian Children.
Now that Siberian Children are no longer with us, there is a fear that their history will be forgotten again.
I would like to ask you, together with us and with Fukudenkai, to take part in an extremely important project, which is passing the history of Siberian Children on and making it the foundation of friendship between Japan and Poland.
I am addressing especially the descendants of the Siberian Children. You are the symbol of friendship between our countries and the messengers who will take this relationship into the future.
Please pass on these stories you have heard from your parents and grandparents to future generations as well as get in touch with other families of Siberian Children.
I am counting on you.
These relations between our countries and the family members of Siberian Children are very important.
Russian aggression against Ukraine is a violation of the international order built after World War II and it cannot be tolerated.
I am full of admiration and respect for the bravely fighting Ukrainian army as well as for the Polish society, which offers help to its neighbors.
Japan implemented severe sanctions against Russia. We stand in solidarity and support for Ukraine.
Fukudenkai is currently actively helping Ukrainian refugees in Poland by financing its activities from sponsors among Japanese residents.
I am deeply touched to see how the good of a hundred years ago, expressed by helping Siberian Children, is reflected in Ukraine’s support.
Personally, from February 24, I wear a pin with the flags of Poland and Ukraine every day.
I hope the help for Ukraine and the support from Poland, which supports Ukraine, make this circle of friendship, of goodwill connecting Japan and Poland expand to link the past, present, and future.
Prawdziwych przyjaciół poznaje się w biedzie.
Japonia solidaryzuje się z Ukrainą. Japonia i Polska to dwa kraje słynące z przyjaźni.
(A friend in need is a friend indeed.
Japan stands in solidarity with Ukraine. Japan and Poland are two countries famous for their friendship.)