10 YEARS SINCE DISASTER: Group of Fukushima natives in Britain to post thank-you video on YouTube

Trailer movie of virtual disaster anniversary event to be held on March 11 by Fukushima Prefectural Association in London

An association of Japanese nationals in Britain with ties to Fukushima Prefecture will post a streaming video in English on YouTube showing aspects of the region's past, present and possible future, as well as messages of gratitude for support, on March 11, the 10th anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster. The project, undertaken by the Fukushima Prefectural Association in London, is planned as a virtual event titled "A Decade of Recovery in Fukushima" to convey thoughts during the challenge of the new coronavirus pandemic. "We would like our 'love from Fukushima' to reach many people," said association head Yoshio Mitsuyama, who hails from the Taishin district of Shirakawa city. The association has been engaged in various activities in Britain since the disaster to support the region, including by selling prefectural products, reporting on progress in reconstruction and supporting interactions. It was scheduled to hold a commemorative event on the landmark 10th anniversary, but the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted it to switch to the online project. Association members, finding time under restrictions on outings, are putting their energy into preparations for the video event. The project is supported by newspaper publisher Fukushima-Minpo Co., the prefectural government, the local administrations of Motomiya city and the towns of Futaba and Hirono, the Japanese Embassy in London, the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Britain, and the Japan Association in the UK, among other parties. The video streaming is set to start at 2:30 p.m. local time (11:30 p.m. JST) on March 11. With footage lasting about one hour, the video will depict with English commentary scenes ranging from the outbreak of the quake to reconstruction to date, the tastiness of local peaches, “sake” rice wine and other prefectural products, and aspects of Fukushima's nature and culture. It will also feature a present-giving section where selected winners will be offered prefectural products. Ahead of the event, a music program titled "We will never forget you" will be presented online from noon that day (9 p.m. JST), organized mainly by London-based singer Naomi Suzuki. It will be jointly hosted by the Fukushima association. Also participating will be other female singers Mari Natsuki, Yuki Koyanagi and Hitomi Yaida, and choral groups from Fukushima Prefecture. They will sing songs in support of reconstruction, sending out the same common message as the title. "By going online, we will be able to convey to many people the image of Fukushima being reconstructed and our feelings of thankfulness," says Mitsuyama. His group is considering collaborating with other prefectural associations elsewhere in the world that are also planning anniversary events. A trailer of the virtual event is available on the following site: https://www.fukushima-uk-311.com/ (Translated by Kyodo News)

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