Ambassador opens Australian-funded playground in Fukushima
18 April 2012
Having been evacuated from their homes near the Fukushima nuclear power plants because of radiation concerns, children attending a new, temporary kindergarten in Iino, Fukushima, are enjoying an Australian-funded playground I had the pleasure of opening yesterday.
The playground, at a kindergarten for children relocated from the village of Iitate, was funded by the Australia-Japan Foundation (AJF) as part of its efforts to support communities affected by last year's earthquake and tsunami, and the resulting concerns about radiation.
Together with AJF Board Member Melanie Brock, I travelled to Iino, where I met Iitate Mayor Norio Kanno and Head of the Iitate Village Council Mr Chohei Sato and opened the new playground.
It was terrific to see the children, who have been through so much over the past year, making the most of the new playground equipment.
The AJF has funded several projects to support those affected by last year's disaster, including the recent visit to the Gold Coast by 24 children from the tsunami-devastated town of Minami Sanriku.
The Iitate community will also soon enjoy an AJF-funded mobile library service, currently being established in cooperation with the Iitate Board of Education.