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Contribution to Kumamoto Earthquake Recovery Fund for Damaged Cultural Assets

July 1, 2016

I would like to express my deepest condolences for the people who lost their lives or were injured by the series of earthquakes in Kumamoto and Oita. My sincere sympathy goes out to those who suffered serious damage during the earthquakes and still have to stay in evacuation shelters.

Many lives were lost due to the earthquakes, and the enormous damage to the historical landmarks and to important cultural assets is beginning to come to light. Not only cultural assets such as Janes' Residence, Aso-jinja Shrine, and Suizenji Jojuen Park, but also (and especially) Kumamoto Castle, which has been a symbol of Kumamoto Prefecture for more than four centuries, suffered enormous damage to its keep tower, stone walls, and the Utoyagura turret. I cannot imagine how heartbreaking this was for the people of Kumamoto.

The highest priority is to help the victims rebuild, of course, but under the belief that reconstruction and rehabilitation of such damaged heritage sites will console them and help lift their spirits, the board members of KOZO KEIKAKU ENGINEERING Inc., decided on June 27, 2016, to donate 100 million yen to the Kumamoto Earthquake Recovery Fund for Damaged Cultural Assets. This fund was established by the Education Bureau of the Kumamoto Prefectural Government and was suggested to us by former Prime Minister and former Governor of Kumamoto Prefecture, Mr. Morihiro Hosokawa. The donation was presented at the end of June.

The keep tower of Kumamoto Castle was damaged, but withstood two consecutive mega-earthquakes of a seismic intensity 6. Our company founder, the late Dr. Makoto Hattori, made the following statement 57 years ago, when performing the structural design for the reconstruction of the keep tower.

"Today, we have no means to infer the strength of its stone walls, which were built hundreds of years ago and which are now designated as special historic sites. It is the wish of all of the design engineers that the reconstruction of the keep tower be completed without any harm or damage to the historic stone walls, and, furthermore, it is our hope to see the castle maintained for good and all."
~ Excerpt from "The Structural Specifications for the Reconstruction Work of the Kumamoto Castle"~

The cultural assets of Kumamoto have been exposed to the forces of nature, but have been maintained through the wisdom of a great number of people and inherited over generations, and we cannot help hoping for the restoration of Kumamoto Castle and waiting for the day when it will be reopened to the public. We hope that this will bring back a sense of peace and abundance to the people in Kumamoto.

Whenever I see local companies, municipalities and partners doing their best, I am amazed at how vigorous and strong the people of Kumamoto are. I would also like to add that, although our Kumamoto office itself was slightly damaged, my colleagues there resumed work on their own immediately after the disaster. In the foot of Mt. Aso, we are able to foster a corporate culture that is open, collaborative, and future-oriented.

KOZO KEIKAKU ENGINEERING was fortunate to be able to open an office in Ozu, Kumamoto, in 1984, and we have operated there ever since. From a professional engineering standpoint, we greatly hope that we will be able to tackle the recovery and reconstruction of Kumamoto head-on.

Shota Hattori

Related Information: "Message on the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquake" on April 26, 2016