MADRID – Kyodo News and four newspapers in the Tohoku region, whose coast was ravaged by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, opened an exhibition in Madrid on Tuesday for photos depicting citizens’ disaster recovery efforts.
An opening ceremony took place in the presence of Spanish Crown Prince Felipe and visiting Crown Prince Naruhito at the Cuartel del Conde-Duque.
Both princes were briefed about photos showing coastal regions immediately after the tsunami and the current situation. Felipe was seen shaking his head and looked gloomy. After viewing a photo of an airport, the Crown Prince, for his part, asked if it was taken in Sendai, whose airport was flooded in the disaster.
The exhibition is one of the events held to commemorate the 400th anniversary of a Japanese mission’s visit to Spain in 1613, marking the start of Japan-Spain relations. The commemorative events will be held in various locations in both countries this year.
Kyodo News, the Iwate Nippo, the Kahoku Shimpo, the Fukushima Minpo and the Fukushima Minyu Shimbun are exhibiting about 50 photos of people who were hit by the tsunami and have been making recovery efforts.
Also on display are photojournalist Kazuma Obara’s pictures of workers at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, as well as ikebana arrangements to promote Japanese culture.
In 2011, Spain presented its prestigious Prince of Asturias Award to police, firefighters and Self-Defense Forces personnel who joined initial operations to contain the Fukushima nuclear crisis.
Crown Prince in Spain
Crown Prince Naruhito has met in Madrid with a number of Japanese professionals based in Spain, including Etsuro Sotoo, chief sculptor at the World Heritage-listed Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.
At a gathering Monday at the Madrid residence of Japan’s ambassador to Spain, the Crown Prince asked Sotoo, 59, how the more than century-old project has been progressing recently.
“Since I am doing my best, I would be glad if you could come over” for a personal inspection, Sotoo replied.
The Crown Prince also talked with Mitsue Iwakura, a 28-year-old player with Atletico Madrid’s female soccer team.