The Embassy of Finland, Tokyo received Timanttiteko award for its work
The Embassy of Finland, Tokyo was granted Timanttiteko award for its rapid action during the crisis following the earthquake in Japan. The justifications for the award mention particularly the embassys innovative use of social media for crisis communication and reaching the hundreds of Finns who were in the emergency areas. The award was presented during the VIRVE Day event (VIRVE authority network) on Tuesday, 20 March.
According to the award jury, the Embassy of Finland, Tokyo performed its tasks in line with advancing the strategy of securing the vital functions of society and required by a long-term crisis situation in an exemplary fashion. Provision of assistance to Finnish citizens and dissemination of information was launched immediately after the earthquake.
Our embassies operate with limited resources and under a great pressure. The award shows that the Embassy of Tokyo succeeded in helping the Finns and ensuring efficient communications in a difficult situation. Lessons have been learned from every crisis and on the basis of those we develop our operations further, Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja commented.
As the crisis prolonged, the Facebook pages of the Embassy of Finland, Tokyo became the most important single source of situation report information for the citizens and a forum where experts, tens of thousands of citizens and, first and foremost, the Finns in the crisis area themselves could get and exchange information. The updating of the embassys Facebook page was not tied to any particular time or place, and thus it could also be performed from outside the embassy premises and Finland.
All in all, the unprejudiced way the Embassy of Finland, Tokyo acted in social media enhanced significantly the safety of Finnish citizens in the country. The example shown by the Finnish Embassy in Tokyo can also be put to use in other situations where the safety of society is threatened.
Counsellor Johanna Kotkajärvi from the Embassy of Tokyo says that the embassy employees are very flattered for the recognition. All those who participated in the management of the crisis deserve thanks, since in successful crisis management and communications the key factor is seamless cooperation between various actors both in Japan and Finland. According to Kotkajärvi, the Tokyo managements of the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation TEKES and The Finnish Institute in Japan played an important role in understanding the crisis situation. They opened up an opportunity for cooperation with experts in nuclear energy and seismology that was of great importance.
The cooperation with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs emergency team was seamless, for example, in collecting location data on Finnish citizens and disseminating information on the crisis through Facebook and other channels. Kotkajärvi extends special thanks to active citizens who produced important information to the Facebook page.
The award was presented by Permanent Secretary Arto Räty, Chairman of the Security and Defence Committee. On behalf of the Embassy of Tokyo, the award was received by Jari Sinkari, Deputy Director General of the Department for Communications and Culture and Lauri Aaltonen, Director General of Consular Services, and Pasi Tuominen, Head of Preparedness, all from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
The Timanttiteko award is granted annually by the Security and Defence Committee for exemplary action with significance for the safety of population, society or state.
Further information: Aapo Cederberg, Secretary General of the Security and Defence Committee, tel. +358 400 246 746, and Keijo Norvanto, Director of Communications, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, tel. +358 40 520 3925