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14 Jul 2011
IOC News

IOC President meets victims of earthquake, tsunami in Japan

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge today met a group of evacuees from the region of Japan that was ravaged by the earthquake and tsunami of 11 March 2011.

President Rogge is in Tokyo to attend meetings marking the 100th anniversary of the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) and the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA)’s General Assembly.

The evacuees, assembled at the National Training Centre in Tokyo, thanked President Rogge for the assistance they received from the Olympic Movement in the aftermath of the disaster.

“As people from the area, we owe a lot to the warm support and help extended to us by the Olympic Movement,” said Katsuyuki Kimura, representing the group of evacuees. “The people from the JOC visited us and gave us on-site support and help. On top of that, they even brought us uniforms worn by famous athletes and financial support. The uniforms were worn during our recovery efforts and as such represented more than just physical support. They symbolised the spirit of recovery and the worldwide support extended to us; they also reminded us that people of the world had not forgotten us, and we are all grateful to you for your help.”

Accompanying the President were IOC members Ser Miang Ng and Chiharu Igaya. Ng chairs a working group set up by the IOC and the OCA to coordinate support from the Olympic Movement, and he visited Japan soon after the disaster to assess the situation.

The IOC is collecting donations for the relief effort on the Internet, with all proceeds going to the JOC to distribute.

“I bring you the sympathy and the greetings of the entire sports world. When this horrible catastrophe occurred in March, the Japanese Olympic Committee received hundreds and hundreds of messages of condolences coming from around the world,” said President Rogge. “The JOC and IOC agreed to jointly coordinate our efforts to support you and other victims.

“Sport alone cannot do everything. But sport can be important because it can bring joy and hope, and it can bring health.”

As part of the relief effort, the Olympic Movement will bring well-known Olympians to the affected areas to take part in a “Mini-Olympics” in October. The athletes will visit schools and take part in sporting activity to provide encouragement to the people living there. 

In addition, children from the affected areas will be invited to the Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck in January 2012 and to the South-East Asian Games in Indonesia in November 2011.

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