Gold medal gymnast Uchimura named envoy for post-quake reconstruction support

13 January 2017

Gymnast Kohei Uchimura, gold medalist in the men's individual overall event at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, was named “ambassador for reconstruction support” by the Reconstruction Agency on Jan. 12, a post newly created to assist efforts for recovery from the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident that devastated the northeastern region of Tohoku, including Fukushima Prefecture. The 28-year-old envoy is expected to firmly boost post-disaster reconstruction efforts through events, tourism-promoting posters and other opportunities.

Uchimura has already been active in supporting reconstruction efforts in Miyagi Prefecture and other parts of Tohoku since the disaster. He accepted a request for the post from Reconstruction Minister Masahiro Imamura. At a ceremony for the appointment at the agency in Tokyo, Uchimura said he would like to visit the affected areas and convey what he feels. “I want to give them courage and inspiration by showing steady good performances,” he added.

Imamura stressed that Uchimura has “the sort of fighting spirit never to be outdone,” expressing hope that his mission will encourage the affected areas endeavoring to rebuild themselves. The minister presented the envoy with “ampo-gaki” half-dried persimmons, a specialty in the northern part of Fukushima.

■New poster “Ikuyo" designed by creative director Yanai

A new poster has been produced to promote Uchimura’s mission. It is a product designed by creative director Michihiko Yanai, who hails from Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture. The poster depicts Uchimura’s photo along with the phrase "Ikuyo" (I'll be coming).

(Translated by Kyodo News)