Memorial for Japanese quake victims

19:43, Jun 26 2012
Toyama College of Foreign Languages
MEMORIAL REVEALED: David Bolam-Smith, left, Annabel Menzies-Joyce, Mr.Kawahata Deputy Princepal Toyama College of Foreign Languages after the presentation of the Kahikatea Memorial sculpture at Toyama college, Japan.

A memorial to the Japanese victims of the Christchurch earthquake was unveiled in Japan on the opening day of the inquiry into the building that claimed their lives.

The Canterbury Television building collapse in February last year killed 28 Japanese students from the Toyama College of Foreign Languages.

A kahikatea memorial sculpture, commissioned by Christchurch man David Bolam-Smith and created by artist Annabel Menzies-Joyce, was unveiled at the school in Toyama City, Japan, on Monday as the eight-week royal commission hearing began.

The sculpture's "twin" was unveiled on February 22 at the Christ's College chapel.

About 100 people attended the Japanese ceremony, including Bolam-Smith, Menzies-Joyce, New Zealand ambassador to Japan Ian Kennedy and Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully.

Bolam-Smith said the cities were now connected by the twin memorials.


Families' spokesman Masatsugu Yokota, who lost his 19-year-old daughter Saki, said: "Every month on the 22nd we observe the memorial day of our daughter's death. On this day especially, we feel the loss of our precious daughter deeply."

The families expected a "sound judgment" from the royal commission, Yokota said.

"In order for something like this to never happen again, I feel it is important to make sure the causes of the collapse are clarified - both physical causes and also regarding responsibility," he said.

The Press