Message from Consul General Ito
During the past month, I traveled around the province and attended various events in Vancouver.
At the end of February I was invited to the Budget Speech of the Legislative Assembly of BC. I used the occasion to visit Sidney and Nanaimo, both cities with twin city relations in Japan. In Victoria, I had discussions about the promotion of sister city exchanges with local leaders, including the mayors, of Lake Cowichan, Victoria, Sidney, and Nanaimo. These cities on the Island are keeping in close contact with each other and willing to further strengthen their relations with their respective twin cities in Japan. I told them not to hesitate to contact our consulate if we can be of any assistance.
The following week, I traveled to Tofino and Port Alberni. With the news reports of debris from the Great East Japan Earthquake last year being washed ashore in Tofino, the objectives of the trip were to observe the area in person and to explain to the local authorities the steps that Japan has been taking. I met with the mayors of Tofino and Ucluelet, and toured the beaches with them. A study is currently underway in Japan on the total amount and estimated trajectory of the tsunami-generated debris adrift in the ocean. Japan intends to soon release the result of the study. We will maintain transparency in addressing this issue.
En route from Tofino, I visited Port Alberni that has a twin relation with Abashiri City in Japan. I discussed with the mayor and others the enhancement of ties between the city and Japan. The city also assisted Japan after the Great East Japan Earthquake and I was particularly impressed with the story of a 6 year-old Port Alberni girl. On her birthday, instead of receiving presents, she had everyone bring money which she sacrificially collected and gave as a donation that was then sent to Abashiri City and later used to buy toys for the children in temporary compounds in Miyako City of Iwate Prefecture. The warm support shown by the people in Canada is truly encouraging. From the bottom of my heart I would like to say thank you.
On March 11, Japan marks one year since the earthquake. Our consulate is going to host a commemorative ceremony. I understand that various groups will be organizing similar events as well. I sincerely ask for your continued support for the nation of Japan.
March 9, 2012