Machiko Shibata and Yuka Horai are among the girl scouts who have visited Fukushima Prefecture after becoming "foster parents" for sunflower seeds delivered from the disaster-hit region.

When the girl scouts from Chiba Prefecture joined the Fukushima Sunflower Foster Parent Project in summer 2011 to grow sunflowers and return harvested seeds to the organizer, they didn't know exactly how it would help people affected by the 3/11 disasters.

But since visiting Fukushima, 20-year-old college student Shibata and 18-year-old high school student Horai said they now feel that exchanges with local people, who were happy just to see them in the prefecture, are exactly the kind of support required.