Japanese actor Ken Watanabe on Wednesday told an international forum that Japan is gradually recovering from the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, finding a ray of hope in the strong bonds formed between people in the wake of the devastating disasters in northeastern Japan.
''The sea which was so beautiful and had given us much fortune, had swallowed up lives, and swept away everything...What was left were survivors with nothing to call their own,'' Watanabe said in a speech in English at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
''However, people did things. They helped each other, supported each other...This happened regardless of generation, profession, or rank. This was the culture of 'Kizuna', or bond, which we had in all of us,'' Watanabe said.
He added that the strong bonds were ''a ray of hope found in the bare land left by the tsunami'' and that Japan is ''slowly healing its wounds...finding strength from the kizuna.''
In his speech, he also said there is a need to move away from nuclear power generation following the subsequent nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.
''At a time when we experienced firsthand the terror of depending on an element known as nuclear energy, which we cannot control completely, we must steer ourselves in the direction of reusable energy,'' Watanabe said. ''Otherwise, we won't succeed in handing down a bright future to our children.''
As the first Japanese actor to give a speech at the Davos forum, Watanabe, 52, will also report on Thursday how the government of then Prime Minister Naoto Kan responded to the disasters.
About 250 meetings will be held during the five-day forum, in which more than 2,600 politicians, business figures and intellectuals, including leaders from about 40 countries, are expected to take part.
Watanabe was invited to the forum as he has been working for international social contributions through his website ''kizuna311'' to assist victims of the twin disasters and the subsequent nuclear crisis.
Among other topics discussed on the first day of the forum were the European sovereign debt crisis, global security, energy issues and food security.