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Support from Paraguay in South America!! Charity sports event for Ishinomaki

August 26, 2011

Peace Boat has received support for its disaster relief operations from many countries around the world including: support from a volunteer team from Sri Lanka; a gift of tsunamika from South India; support from a group of Nigerians living in Japan; and help from countless numbers of international volunteers.

Today’s report is about another act of support, this time from Paraguay.

Paraguay is located in almost the center of the South American continent. It is surrounded by many large countries with Brazil to the East/Northeast, Bolivia to the West/Northwest and Argentina to the South/Southwest. There are no coastal borders and so Peace Boat’s ship is unfortunately unable to visit this inland nation. It takes 30 hours by plane from Japan and of course there are no direct flights.

"South America Maps and Online Resources." Infoplease Atlas. © 2000–2007 Pearson Education, publishing as Infoplease. NOTE: Copyright/source varies; see information on or below map. 26 Aug. 2011 <http://www.infoplease.com/atlas/southamerica.html>.

On July 26, a charity sports event called “Corrida por Japon” or “Let’s run for Japan!” was held by the Japan Chamber of Commerce in Paraguay (Camara de Comercio e Industria Japonesa del Paraguay) in the capital city of Asunción. Approximately 1000 people participated in the event in support of Japan with participants young and old, the youngest person being 12 years old. During the event there was a presentation explaining the current situation in the disaster-affected areas as well as a lively Taiko (Japanese drumming) performance as a prayer for recovery. Support funds which were collected at the charity event were donated to Peace Boat to be used in Peace Boat’s disaster relief operations.

Representative Toyotoshi Marcello speaking about the current situation in the disaster-affected areas.

A prayer for recovery – Taiko performance.

Approximately 1000 people running in the charity marathon wearing t-shirts made especially for the event.

A key organizer of this event was Marcello, the son of the Japanese ambassador to Paraguay Toyotoshi Naoyuki, who organized the event upon hearing details from his father about the situation in Japan after visiting Ishinomaki in a trip coordinated by Peace Boat. We will never forget the support from these people in Paraguay, a far away country that has never experienced a tsunami, who gathered to think about the people in the disaster-affected areas 5 months after the disaster occurred.

On Sunday August 28 the second “Corrida por Japon” will be held in Encarnación city. Even people who cannot run express their desire to offer support by walking in the marathon with their family members.

The catchphrase for this event is “Fuerza Japon!” or “Strength for Japan!”
Next time we want to return the feeling by saying “Fuerza Paraguay!”