Visit to the IFRC by Governor of Fukushima Prefecture


Mr. Uchibori (left) and Mr. Sy (right)

Mr. Uchibori (left) and Mr. Sy (right)

Mr. Masao Uchibori, Governor of Fukushima Prefecture, visited the secretariat of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in Geneva, Switzerland on July 13 (Japan time: July 14), 2015, and had talks with Mr. Elhadj As Sy, Secretary General of the IFRC, and other secretariat members.
The visit was carried out based on the "Joint Declaration regarding Revitalization and Disaster Preparedness" signed between Fukushima Prefecture and the Japanese Red Cross Society (JRCS). During the talks, enhancement of collaboration between Fukushima Prefecture and the IFRC and cooperation to remove harmful rumors about the prefecture were discussed.

Talks between Mr. Uchibori and Mr. Sy

- Enhancement of collaboration for solving issues -

During Mr. Uchibori’s visit to the IFRC, he expressed his gratitude for the assistance from the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies including the JRCS. He also said to Mr. Sy that he hoped that the IFRC would include the experiences and findings from the response to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident in the “Nuclear and Radiological Emergency Preparedness and Response Guidelines” (IFRC Guidelines) which will be discussed at the General Assembly of the IFRC in the coming December of this year.

Mr. Uchibori stated: “Even if the evacuation order is lifted, perceptions of radiation vary according to the affected individuals, generations and even family members. There is no answer about whether the perceptions are correct or not. This divided in the communities and even amongst family members. I think that if the Red Cross or any specialized international organizations give advice from neutral and objective viewpoints, such divisions may be mitigated.”

Mr. Sy said: “Japan has been supporting people affected by disasters around the world. Soon after the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami occurred, a great deal of support was shown from across the world to give back to Japan. The Red Cross is an “organization of mutual aid”. In October of last year when I visited Fukushima, I was very impressed by Fukushima citizens’ solidarity, disciplines and leadership, which represented their attitude to tackle difficult challenges. Various experiences from the disaster in Fukushima will be reflected in the IFRC Guidelines.”

At the end of the talks, Mr. Uchibori presented the IFRC an okiagari-koboshi which is a folkcraft tumble doll from the Aizu Area, Fukushima Prefecture and is associated with Fukushima citizens who are working hard on the recovery in spite of the difficulties they are facing.

In response, Mr. Sy sent a message to Fukushima Prefecture for encouragement: “To face what happened at the time of the disaster and the subsequent challenges needs courage. So, I hope you to continue to go forward toward trust honestly and tenaciously.”

After the talks, Mr. Uchibori looked satisfied with the visit, commenting: “Mr. Sy is a very warm person. I was fascinated with his personality.”

Disseminating the current situation on the recovery in Fukushima

- Mr. Uchibori explains “challenge for the future of Fukushima” -

Mr. Uchibori speaking at the seminar

Mr. Uchibori speaking at the seminar

During Mr. Uchibori’s stay in Switzerland, Fukushima Prefecture and the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva co-hosted a seminar and a social event with the participants. Mr. Uchibori made a presentation about the recovery progress from the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami and the Fukushima Daiichi accident to ambassadors from various countries and representatives from international organizations and asked for their cooperation to dispel the harmful rumors about Fukushima and to not forget the disaster.

Sushi using Fukushima’s original rice;
sake brewed in Fukushima

Sushi using Fukushima’s original rice; sake brewed in Fukushima

After the seminar, sushi using Fukushima’s original rice called “tenno-tsubu” and sake brewed in Fukushima were served to the participants.