Expressing thanks in Paris, Fukushima officials vow disaster reconstruction

JIJI

Representatives of Fukushima Prefecture pledged to achieve reconstruction from the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami and the subsequent nuclear crisis at an event in Paris on Monday.

At the event, held to provide updates on the progress of disaster reconstruction, senior Fukushima officials and local businessmen expressed their appreciation for French assistance in the reconstruction efforts and underlined the safety of food products from the prefecture.

Terunori Igarashi, head of the prefectural government’s tourism exchange bureau, explained how Fukushima agricultural products are checked for radioactive contamination.

He also gave a presentation about tourist spots, including Tsurugajo Castle in Aizuwakamatsu, the setting for an NHK historical drama produced last year.

“However difficult the situation is, Fukushima will come back,” Igarashi said.

Six students from Tomioka High School took part in the event. They have been forced to evacuate because the school is located in the exclusion zone surrounding Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

Hiroto Takahashi, 17, introduced the activities of the school’s soccer club, which participated in a national tournament.

“I’m proud of being a student of Tomioka High School and enjoying my school life,” he said.

The event was held on the sidelines of an international exhibition of furniture held in a Paris suburb in which 28 companies from Fukushima participated.

Railway stretch to reopen

Morioka, Iwate Pref.

KYODO, JIJI

Sanriku Railway Co. said it will fully resume services on its two railway lines in Iwate Prefecture in April, three years after the devastating March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Full recovery will be achieved with the resumption of service on a 15-km stretch between Yoshihama and Kamaishi stations on the Minami Riasu Line on April 5, and a 10.5-km stretch between Omoto and Tanohata stations on the Kita Riasu Line the next day.

After the tsunami washed away 5.8 km of the 108 km of track on the two lines, service has been restored gradually at a cost of ¥9.2 billion, including financial aid from the central government.

“We appreciate very much the support we received from across Japan,” Sanriku Railway President Masahiko Mochizuki said Monday at a news conference at the Iwate Prefectural Government office in Morioka.

Sanriku Railway has also purchased five new train cars with financial aid from the government of Kuwait.