Although it has been raining for the last several days, the cherry trees at my official residence have started flowering here and there due to the mild temperature. The blooming is at least half a month ahead of last year.
At the beginning of this month, we endured heart-wrenching incidents. A terrorist group that proclaims itself as the “Islamic State” (ISIL) murdered two Japanese individuals. These are impermissible and outrageous acts, as Prime Minister Abe expressed in his recent statement, and we will never forgive these acts of terrorism.
After the incidents, our consulate sent out safety information to various sectors and also hosted a security advisory meeting with the representatives from major Japanese organizations in the community to establish firmer security measures in their respective quarters.
Against such acts of terrorism, Japan will resolutely fulfill its responsibility working together with the international community combatting terrorism.
I was assigned to Afghanistan prior to my current post in Vancouver. In Afghanistan, suicide bombings and rocket gun attacks frequently occurred and the Embassy of Japan was bombarded by rocket guns when I was in the building. Fortunately there were no casualties, whereas the building sustained extensive damage from the attack.
Under such a situation, the temporary closure of the embassy was discussed, however, for the sake of not giving a wrong impression to the terrorists - that they won the battle - the entire embassy staff remained in the country and kept the embassy in operation pursuing humanitarian assistance and infrastructure assistance.
In order to prevent tragedies such as the recent hostage incident, it is important to pay close attention to the safety information in your daily life and to remain vigilant all the time, even in Vancouver, a place that is considered relatively safe.
You may read general information on crime in Vancouver on the safety information page of our website. The crime rates in Vancouver are higher than those in Japan; for instance, murder is 1.7 times higher; sex crimes are 6.2 times higher; and robbery is 42.2 times higher.
Let’s be on guard against crime and enjoy life in Vancouver.