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IRU commends JTA for spearheading Tsunami relief efforts


12 Jun 2013


Trade & Society
Japan Trucking Association (JTA) awarded the IRU Grand Prix d’Honneur for its highly commendable work in spearheading relief efforts during the 2011 Tsunami.

Amman – During the opening ceremony of the 7th IRU Euro-Asian Road Transport Conference, Ministerial Meeting and Co-ordination Meeting of International Organisations and Financial Institutions, IRU President, Janusz Lacny, today awarded IRU’s Japanese Member Association  JTA the IRU Grand Prix d’Honneur*, as an international recognition for the outstanding work when spearheading relief efforts for the 2011 Tsunami that struck Japan following a massive earthquake.

Registering a magnitude of 9 on the Richter scale, the earthquake shook the North-eastern Tohoku region for a full 6 minutes at 2:46pm on 11 March 2011, making it the largest in the history of Japan. To make matters worse, the earthquake triggered a giant tsunami more than 40 metres high, which slammed the Japanese coastline, resulting in the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident. The Japanese people were thus confronted with a threefold disaster, the scale of which is evident in recent data – 15,856 dead, 3,084 missing and over 344,000 evacuees.

Within hours of the earthquake, JTA reacted quickly to establish an Emergency Transportation Headquarters. From March to May 2011, JTA liaised with the Japanese Government to co-ordinate relief efforts, and together with 47 local trucking associations successfully, mobilised over 10,000 trucks to carry 19 million meals, 4.6 million bottles of water, 460,000 blankets, as well as medicine and other emergency supplies, to some 2,032 locations in the devastated areas.

The scale of the emergency transportation organisation was immense and the dedication shown by JTA staff and staff from local trucking associations demonstrated selflessness and valour in extremely difficult and challenging conditions.

Handing the award over, IRU President, Mr Lacny, stated “When I heard about the lengths that JTA went to in providing relief, I felt humbled by their efforts.  The phenomenal commitment to their cause could be seen by the huge amount of logistical planning needed to reach those most in need and deliver basic supplies to ensure that survivors had clean water to drink and blankets to keep warm in the hours that followed this devastating natural disaster”.

When asked if they ever felt the job was too big for them or overwhelmed by the task, JTA President, Mr.Yoshimi Hoshino, replied, “It was a matter of national pride for us to help our fellow countrymen when confronted with such a dire situation”.


* The “Grand Prix d’Honneur” was created in 1967 as a distinction awarded by an international jury to a driver or drivers in international road transport, who perform an outstanding act of courage during their professional duties. See regulations.

The jury, which attributed the IRU Grand Prix d’Honneur 2012, was comprised of representatives from the Alliance Internationale de Tourisme & Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (AIT-FIA), International Motorcycles Manufacturers Association (IMMA), International Road Federation (IRF) and the International Road Transport Union (IRU).