Exchange center opens in Okuma town, 1st coming-of-age ceremony in 10 years held

An opening ceremony was held in the Ogawara district of the Fukushima Prefecture town of Okuma on Oct. 16 to celebrate the completion of a center for exchange among citizens built by the municipal government as a new symbol of reconstruction from the 2011 earthquake and nuclear disaster. It was followed by a coming-of-age ceremony at the "link-ru Okuma" interaction facility within the center after having been postponed twice due to the novel coronavirus epidemic. It was the first such ceremony for new adults in 10 years held in Okuma, which was temporarily evacuated after the Great East Japan Earthquake and ensuing nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.'s Fukushima Daiichi plant. The center, 15,290 square meters wide, was erected by the town at a total cost of some 4.2 billion yen, including a state subsidy, with its management and operation entrusted to SunAmenity of Tokyo. Besides link-ru Okuma, which is equipped with a multipurpose hall and a music studio, the center has Hotto Okuma with lodging and warm bath facilities as well as the Okumart commercial area that was launched last spring. The coming-of-age ceremony, the first event in the center, was attended by 46 out of 134 youths registered. Clad in gala dress, including kimono and suits, they enjoyed their first reunions in a while and pledged to contribute to their hometown's reconstruction. (Translated by Kyodo News)