Fittingly, one of this year's "High School Student Ambassadors of Peace" selected by a citizens's group in Nagasaki is a survivor from disaster-stricken Rikuzentakata in Iwate Prefecture of the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake.
Masahiro Kikuchi, 17, will visit the United Nations Office in Geneva, Switzerland, in August and take him with a message born from the disaster that ravaged his hometown and claimed his parents.
Kikuchi, a third-year student at Iwate Prefectural Takata Senior High School, will be one of 12 high school students to visit Geneva this year.
The citizen's group has been dispatching a mission of high school students each year since 1998 to appeal for the abolishment of nuclear weapons and the realization of world peace. The United States dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945, in the waning days of World War II.
Kikuchi and a junior from his high school, Saya Sasaki, 16, are two delegates chosen this year from the area stricken by the quake and tsunami.
They plan to report on the present state of the stricken areas and to thank people around the world for their support.
On March 11, Kikuchi was at home in Rikuzentakata, having finished his classes, when he heard a community announcement system warn that a "3-meter-high tsunami is approaching." Kikuchi grabbed his binoculars and hurriedly rode his bicycle to higher ground.
He saw a familiar pine field enveloped by the tsunami. In front of him, his town was swallowed by a cloud of sand. He was overwhelmed by the sight.
His 49-year-old father, who worked for a construction company, had returned home once, but never came back. His mother, then 41, also returned to her workplace, an agricultural cooperative office, never to come home, either.
Kikuchi now lives with his 75-year-old grandmother at his home, which escaped damage.
In the drawer of his father's desk he found a school newsletter, which told of Kikuchi becoming the president of his school's student council and newspaper clippings detailing his shining accomplishments in track and field and baseball in junior high school.
In Geneva, Kikuchi plans to deliver a speech to the people of the world.
"Many people were victimized due to their lack of awareness of disaster prevention," he said. "I want to help public awareness of disaster prevention spread throughout the world."
The teen also said his speech will be directed to his parents.
"I want my parents to see that I am working hard," Kikuchi said.
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