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Fukushima natives join marathon in Germany, running along Rhine River

6 May 2018

Three teams of people hailing from Fukushima Prefecture participated in a relay event of the 16th Metro Marathon Duesseldorf held in the German city in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia on April 29. The teams from the Association of Fukushima Prefectural People in North Rhine-Westphalia, comprising four runners each, joined the relay race on the 42.195-kilometer route stretching through streets and areas of lush greenery along the Rhine River. The runners relayed a sash with two Japanese letters denominating “Fukushima,” hand-stitched by association members. Ryuta Mizuuchi, Japanese consul general in Duesseldorf, also joined the relay marathon as an honorary member of the association.

Roadside spectators cheered on the association runners, shouting out “Fukushima ganbare (Hold on, Fukushima)” to throw support behind them as the prefecture is struggling to recover from the 2011 nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi plant. One of the runners said, “I do want to take part as an association team member again next year and help strengthen bonds among prefectural people.” Association team captain Daisuke Fujiwara (originally from Iwaki city) participated in the full-marathon race.

After the event, association members gathered at a restaurant in Duesseldorf for the 15th association get-together that also served as a convivial post-marathon party. On hand for the occasion to promote friendship were 30 people connected with Fukushima in one way or another, the largest number ever.

The Duesseldorf marathon, known as an international race, drew a total of some 15,000 runners in the full-distance and relay events.

Information on the events was conveyed to Fukushima-Minpo Co., publisher of the namesake local daily, by Minori Yatate , a prefectural government official seconded to the Duesseldorf office of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO).

(Translated by Kyodo News)

17 April 2018

Iitate village’s video work gets gold award in world media festa’s VR segment

A virtual reality (VR) video series produced by the village of Iitate, Fukushima Prefecture, to show the rest of the world its history and natural attractions as well as progress in its post-disaster reconstruction has been awarded a gold prize in an annual world media festa. The video trilogy, titled “Madei; Sincere Way of Life is Coming Back,” won the honor in the “Web & Web TV: 360-degree VR” segment of the “WorldMediaFestival” event. “Madei” is a dialect word meaning “polite, decent.”

The WorldMediaFestival, an international competition launched by a German media-related company in 2000, grants awards to corporate videos, TV programs, Website videos and other works in 14 categories, including animation and documentaries. The festival collected 785 works from 37 countries this year. Japanese entries won seven golds and seven silvers.

“Madei; Sincere Way of Life is Coming Back” comprises three parts, lasting 5 to 7 minutes each. The village commissioned its production to major advertising agency Dentsu Inc. Part 1 shows Iitate’s history and developments there since the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and ensuing nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi plant, among other scenes. Part 2 depicts events associated with the lifting of an evacuation order except in part of the village at the end of March last year. Part 3 portrays scenes in the Nagadoro administrative district still designated as a “difficult to return” zone. The video series is available in three languages – Japanese, English and French – on the “YouTube” Internet channel and the village’s official Facebook page.

The gold award puts the video work on the list of entries nominated as candidates for a grand award in each category and a grand prix to be announced at a ceremony in Hamburg, Germany, on May 16. Iitate Mayor Norio Kanno voiced jubilance, saying, “We would like to keep sending out information to the rest of the world on the forward-looking posture of villagers seeking to achieve reconstruction.”

For inquiries about the VR videos, please call the planning section of the general affairs division in the village office at 0244-42-1613.

(Translated by Kyodo News)

16 April 2018

Global young leaders inspect Fukushima Pref., witness post-disaster recovery

Members of a global youth group, inaugurated by the Geneva-based World Economic Forum known for its annual meeting of global leaders in Davos, Switzerland, inspected on April 15 areas of Fukushima Prefecture affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and ensuing nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima Daiichi plant. The visit by the group, comprising young leaders engaged in activities that provide a contribution to society, was organized by the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry to arouse their interest in Fukushima's reconstruction battle in the wake of the 2011 disaster and help send out a broad range of information to the rest of the world.

Participating in the inspection tour were 14 members from the "Global Shapers Community" made up of people aged 33 or younger and active in their respective specialty fields such as politics, economics and science. The participants were from seven countries, including Ukraine and Bulgaria as well as Japan.

In the town of Naraha, once entirely evacuated following the nuclear accident, the visitors toured salmon fishing facilities on the Kido River, which resumed in 2015.

In the village of Kawauchi, also temporarily left entirely vacant, the tour visited farmers producing wine grapes in an effort to establish a winemaking industry in the area. They planted around 50 grape vine saplings at a vineyard.

(Photo) Members of a global young leaders' group join local farmers in planting grape vine saplings at a vineyard in Kawauchi village.

(Translated by Kyodo News)

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