Gov. discusses path to recovery in Washington（「20年に福島の復興示す」 米で内堀知事講演）
WASHINGTON － Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori was invited to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington to give a lecture during his recent stay in the United States. He expressed determination to show the prefecture's reconstruction to the world and achieve recovery in the region.
In the lecture on Oct. 17, Uchibori said he was working toward 2020, when the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games will be held and the Japanese asteroid explorer, Hayabusa 2 － whose development involved many businesses and universities in the prefecture － is expected to return to Earth.
At the beginning of the lecture, the governor expressed his "sincerest gratitude to the [people of the] world" for their support.
Uchibori described the plight of the 86,000 people who still live as evacuees, but added there are some "bright notes."
He went on to explain that recovery efforts haven't stopped: "[We] are moving forward to accomplish Fukushima's revitalization," he said, demonstrating his spirit to overcome challenges to achieve the goal.
Japanese guests invited to speak at CSIS are typically ministers, including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in February 2013 and Defense Minister Tomomi Inada in September this year. Uchibori is the first Japanese governor to give a lecture there since former Tokyo Gov. Yoichi Masuzoe in April.
Uchibori spoke in English for about 30 minutes in part of a CSIS seminar featuring Fukushima's reconstruction efforts, with about 80 people in attendance.
After expressing his gratitude for the support received from all over the world, Uchibori said many people overseas think nobody lives in the prefecture, but assured the audience that this "is not true."
"People can live normal lives in 95 percent [of the prefecture]. We are making strong efforts so that [the remaining 5 percent of] residents can resume their lives in their hometowns," he said.
Describing some of the recent bright notes, Uchibori said 80 percent of infrastructure recovery work was complete － new schools and clinics have opened in the disaster-hit areas and the Jobando Expressway is now in service.
The governor outlined four issues yet to be resolved: the decommissioning of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.'s Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant; environmental recovery; restoration of the prefecture's rumor-affected reputation; and the creation of new businesses in fields such as renewable energy and robotics. He described measures being taken by the central and prefectural governments and TEPCO to resolve these outstanding issues.
The governor referred to the local businesses involved in the development of Hayabusa 2, which launched in 2014. He emphasized the need to keep overcoming challenges, like those businesses are, toward the reconstruction of the prefecture.
Event shows appreciation for U.S. aid
A reception to express appreciation for the support received after the 2011 disaster was jointly held by the Japanese Embassy and the Fukushima Prefecture government at the residence of the Japanese ambassador to the United States in Washington. The prefecture's reconstruction was also discussed.
About 100 people － including ambassadors from other countries and officials from the U.S. government, Congress and CSIS －participated in the reception, which was named "Arigato from Fukushima."
「Ａｒｉｇａｔｏ ｆｒｏｍ Ｆｕｋｕｓｈｉｍａ」と題したレセプションは日本大使館と県の共催で、米国政府や議会、ＣＳＩＳの関係者、各国大使など約１００人が出席した。
Japan Ambassador Kenichiro Sasae said the United States dispatched military personnel, vessels and aircraft to support relief efforts following the Great East Japan Earthquake, reaffirming a friendship Japan will never forget.
Sasae introduced Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori and explained why he was visiting the United States. The governor greeted the guests in English and expressed gratitude for the support his prefecture received.
Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel followed with a toast, saying the friendship between the two countries runs deep and it is natural for friends to support each other. No words of appreciation are necessary, he added.
Sake from Fukushima was served to guests at the reception. The region is renowned for its breweries, and for four straight years the prefecture's sake producers received the highest number of gold prizes in the Japan Sake Awards.
Other items offered included handmade soba made of buckwheat flour produced in the prefecture, and cake rolls made of locally produced wheat flour. Traditional crafts from the prefecture, including Akabeko papier-mache red cows and Miharukoma wooden toy horses, were displayed. A film introducing tourist attractions in the prefecture was also shown.
（ Translated by The Japan News ）
【 ２０１６年１０月１９日付・福島民友新聞掲載 】