Delegation from Wildfire-Hit Maui Visits Fukushima to Hear About Lessons Learned from Quake-Stricken Prefecture

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Maui Mayor Richard Bissen, second from left, and other members of a Maui delegation attend a meeting at the Fukushima prefectural government office on Tuesday.

FUKUSHIMA ― A delegation from Maui, which was devastated by wildfires in August, visited Fukushima Prefecture as part of a project to learn from the prefecture’s quake-stricken areas to help the island recover.

About 20 people including Maui Mayor Richard Bissen and state Rep. Troy Hashimoto visited the prefectural government office and met Gov. Masao Uchibori on Tuesday.

They arrived in Japan on Sunday and toured a university and hospital in Miyagi Prefecture and a hydrogen production facility in Namie, Fukushima Prefecture.

At the meeting, Uchibori quoted the late bacteriologist Hideyo Noguchi, who is a native of the town of Inawashiro in the prefecture: “There are two things that we can change in this world. One is yourself, and the other is your future.”

Uchibori handed over an “okiagari-koboshi” roly-poly toy ― a Fukushima folkcraft that returns to an upright position if it is knocked over ― and said: “We can change our future to a brighter one if we keep making efforts. Let’s do our best.”

Bissen said he felt from the bottom of his heart efforts made by people affected by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and that he is determined to make use of what they learned and apply it to Maui’s recovery.

The project was organized by Tokyo-based U.S.-Japan Council and commissioned by the Foreign Ministry.