Hirokawa to operate facilities on Kumejima for 100 children from Fukushima

Hirokawa to operate facilities on Kumejima for 100 children from Fukushima

On March 30, at Yamashiro in Kumejima, (from left) Mayor Choko Taira, Ryuichi Hirokawa and Tatsuya Ishii announced the project called Okinawa Hope 21 to accept children from Fukushima.

March 31, 2012 Yoko Morinaga, correspondent of the Ryukyu Shimpo

A project called Okinawa Hope 21 that aims to accept children from Fukushima into a recreation center in Kumejima is about to commence. On March 30, a press conference to announce the project was held at Yamashiro, Kumejima on the site planned for the center. Ryuichi Hirokawa, the editor in chief of Days Japan, a monthly news report magazine, who established the Chernobyl Children’s Fund Japan in 1991 and built a recreation facility in Belarus, is promoting the project.

Using land that previously used by a pottery factory, the recreation center will include dormitories, a dining and lecture hall, and a classroom for workshops. About 100 children from Fukushima will visit there a month in class units, and will be able to use the facilities for free. Once the renovation work is complete, the center will commence operation from June at the earliest.

At the press conference, Hirokawa said, “Kumejima has an atmosphere of safeness and calm. In future, I hope to run the facilities as a corporation in cooperation with local people.”

Tatsuya Ishii, a singer who supports the project, and Choko Taira, the mayor of Kumejima also attended to the press conference.

Ishii contributed 20 million yen to this project from donations gathered at his live music performances. “I hope that many people understand that the children in Fukushima have been at great risk. This is the most needed project in Japan. Breathing fresh air in a safe place, and seeing the beautiful blue of the ocean will lift the children’s spirits,” Ishii said.

Mayor Taira said, “We would like to support the children so they can go back home refreshed in mind and body.”

Hirokawa is asking for contributions to help run the facilities. For further details, call Days Japan at 03 (3322) 0233.

(English translation by T&CT, Lima Tokumori and Mark Ealey)

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