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Message on the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquake

April 26, 2016

I would like to express my deepest condolences for loss of life caused by the series of earthquakes in Kumamoto and Oita, and am praying for the fastest recovery for those who were injured. My sincere sympathy goes to those who are still suffering and staying in shelters or tents for evacuation. I pray every day for everyone in the disaster area to be able to resume their everyday life as soon as possible.

As the news spread throughout the world, a great number of clients, academic partners, and overseas partners contacted me with concerns for our condition. I am truly grateful for their kindness and consideration. The foreshock struck Kumamoto on April 14th and then the main earthquake occurred in the early morning hours of the 16th. Both quakes hit our office in Ozu town, Kumamoto, with violent shaking. Fortunately, none of our colleagues, including contract workers, temporary staff and part time workers, were injured and are all safe and sound. I would also like to add that our office building, built in 1984 and generally accommodating 100 colleagues, did not have any serious damage to its structure or facilities.

Our ties to Kumamoto first started in 1960 when our founder, Dr. Makoto Hattori, undertook the structural design of the reconstruction project of Kumamoto Castle's keep tower. Under the instruction of the late Michio Fujioka, a Japanese architectural historian who was responsible for the architectural design and historical authenticity, we engaged in its structural design. The exquisite castle was built hundreds of years ago, and we strictly followed the guidance of Professor Fujioka and secured its structural strength by driving piles deep into the rigid ground to enable them to support the keep tower without any harm or disturbance to the stone walls. It was heartbreaking to see that the stone walls of this historical structure were partially destroyed by the earthquake, and even sadder to see that the elegant Utoyagura turret was demolished. However, the foundation of the keep tower is fully functional even after the quakes. If we had an opportunity to participate in the restoration of the Kumamoto Castle, we would do our very best with all our heart.

In addition, our founder supported the IT Park concept posed by the former governor of Kumamoto, Mr. Morihiro Hosokawa. The founder, however, was not satisfied with the location of the IT Park close to Kumamoto Airport where the current earthquakes did serious damage, and decided to open an office on the Ozu hills, opposite the IT Park across the Shirakawa River. He passed away suddenly shortly after that, in 1983. Thirty-three years have gone by since then. The young staff members we hired in Kumamoto have come a long way and now serve as the backbone of KKE throughout our network. Almost one-third of the KKE members were born and/or educated in Kumamoto. We, Kozo Keikaku Engineering Inc., are enthusiastic about tackling the recovery and reconstruction of Kumamoto head-on as a professional engineering firm.

Last but not least, I extend my sincere gratitude for all those who have so kindly given us their encouragement.

Shota Hattori