1st flower festa held in Motomiya's British garden, 4 London residents named "goodwill ambassadors"

16 June 2019

A flower festival was held for the first time at a British-style garden in Prince William's Park in Motomiya city, Fukushima Prefecture, on June 15. Visitors enjoyed the allures of the garden graced by roses and other flowers in early summer.

The garden opened in November 2017 as a symbol of reconstruction from the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and ensuing nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima Daiichi plant. The municipal government hosted the festival to widely publicize the attractions of the garden which, with increased splendor in its second summer, has reached the best season to view trailing roses covering the "Rose Dome," as well as salvia and other flowers in bloom.

At an opening ceremony, Motomiya Mayor Gigyo Takamatsu commissioned the role of "Motomiya goodwill ambassador for international exchanges" to four London residents with ties to the garden. After people concerned planted a commemorative tree, festival participants released balloons into the sky in a show of their pledge to activate exchanges between the two cities.

Appointed were Yoshio Mitsuyama, 72, chairman of the Fukushima Prefectural Association in London (known in Japanese as the "London Shakunage Kai," or literally alpine rose society), who hails from the Taishin district of Shirakawa city, Fukushima Prefecture; former British Member of Parliament Victoria Bowick, 63; Elizabeth Arnold, 71, representative deputy lieutenant for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea; and Robert Freeman, 80, former mayor of the borough, where the "Fukushima Garden" is located.

The British garden was set up by Motomiya in connection with the Fukushima Garden, which opened in London's Holland Park in 2012 in a move inspired by Fukushima-Minpo Co.'s project to dispatch "reconstruction ambassadors" on the occasion of the London Olympics held that year. At the garden festival, Fukushima-Minpo, the publisher of the namesake vernacular daily, was represented by Koichi Yoshimi, senior managing director and editor in chief.

【Photo】 Participants in a flower festival held for the first time at a British-style garden in Motomiya, Fukushima Prefecture, release balloons into the sky at an opening ceremony.

(Translated by Kyodo News)