15 new “Fukushima reconstruction ambassadors”

A group of 15 students named new “Fukushima reconstruction ambassadors” for fiscal 2018 gathered at a hotel in Koriyama city, Fukushima Prefecture, on July 15 to kick off their mission of drawing global attention to progress in reconstruction after the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster. The new envoys, selected from publicly invited applicants by Fukushima-Minpo Co., pledged to deliver on their duties, including visits to parts of Japan and other countries, as they spoke at an inaugural ceremony at Koriyama View Hotel. The new ambassadors comprise five junior high school students, eight senior high school and technical college students, a university student and a junior college student in Fukushima Prefecture. Masayuki Hanami, executive managing director of the company, which publishes the namesake local daily, handed over a letter of appointment to each student. “We would like you to convey your thoughts to many people at home and abroad, build a network of acquaintances and expand infinite possibilities,” Hanami said. Attending from the Fukushima prefectural government that supports the reconstruction ambassador project, Akiyoshi Usami , senior official responsible for action to dispel harmful rumors and concurrently serving as head of the governor’s office, expressed hopes about the mission as he briefed the students on the latest local situation and challenges associated with the earthquake and ensuing accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Speaking on behalf of the envoys, Yua Kanno, 12, a first grader at Hokushin Junior High School in Fukushima city and the youngest member, said “’I’d like to show people who supported us amid the disaster how we are doing well.” Rui Yamashiro , a 17-year-old senior at Sukagawa Toyo Senior High School in Sukagawa city who has been active as reconstruction ambassador since fiscal 2017, introduced her activities so far and gave the new members words of encouragement. The students then deepened friendship with one another over lunch, introducing themselves in turns. The new envoys will launch activities later this month, starting with a visit to Taiwan by three of them from July 26 on a trip of four days and three nights, which will be followed by visits to different parts of Japan in groups. In fall, they will also cooperate with past ambassadors in undertaking practical activities designed to spur regional community building in the prefecture. (Photo) Newly appointed 15 “Fukushima reconstruction ambassadors” for fiscal 2018 pose for a group photo. (Translated by Kyodo News)