First resort facility in Japan for children from Fukushima opens in Kumejima
July 10, 2012 Yoko Morinaga, Correspondent of Ryukyu Shimpo
On July 8, at the Kumejima Gushikawa Farmer’s Environment Improvement Center, an opening ceremony was held for the Okinawa Kumi no Sato, the first resort facility in Japan to receive children from Fukushima who experienced the Great East Japan Earthquake. A total of 320 people celebrated the establishment of the facility, including 50 families in the first group, those people involved the project and local residents.
In the ceremony, people enjoyed performances by the brass bands of Kumejima-Nishi Junior High School and Kumejima High School. In addition, the people in the audience were cheered up listening to Okinawan folk songs played by a family-run cram school called the Nankuru, and a heartfelt performance by artist Tatsuya Ishi of a song that he wrote for the areas stricken by disaster.
Hitomi Yasuoka, representative of the families from Fukushima, said, “I am very happy that I can be safe during our stay in this island. This is very moving support for the mothers from Fukushima. We really appreciate it.”
Mayor of Kumejima Choko Taira said, “I would like children to be refreshed while they are here with us on the island and to pursue their dreams after returning to Fukushima.”
Ryuichi Hirokawa, a photojournalist and the promoter of the project, said, “We need more support from the community and many people to keep this project going here.”
The facility has a large hall in which people can have meals and 13 quadruple rooms with bunk beds. Transportation and accommodation costs are provided by the foundation.
(English translation by T&CT, Lima Tokumori and Mark Ealey)
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