As part of Japan’s hosting responsibilities for the Rugby World Cup in 2019 and Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Iwaki City in the Fukushima Prefecture was assigned to host Samoa’s Olympic team and the Manu Samoa Rugby team during the preliminary training camps for each event.
An M.O.U was signed between the governments of Samoa and Iwaki City to formalize the agreement earlier this year.
Iwaki City will also be hosting the next Pacific Island Leaders Meeting (P.A.L.M 8) in May 2018.
A twelve-member delegation from the city of Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture in Japan are in Samoa to meet with the Samoa Rugby Union (S.R.U) and launch an international exchange programme between Iwaki City and Samoa to promote friendly relations, cultural appreciation and to build momentum for the Rugby World Cup 2019 and Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The delegation is comprised of senior officials of the Iwaki City government who head the Culture and Sports Department, the spouse of the Honorary Consul of Samoa in Japan, and five students and teacher of Taira Commercial High School.
The Iwaki City officials met with officials of the S.R.U to discuss Iwaki City’s hosting preparations for the upcoming sporting events and tour the SRU Headquarters and High Performance Unit.
The S.R.U Board hosted a Dinner for the delegation on Friday night.
As part of the cultural exchange, Leifiifi College and St. Mary’s College hosted the delegation on Thursday and Friday, respectively, showcasing the essence of Samoan hospitality and culture through the traditional Ava ceremony, cultural items, textiles and printing and providing the opportunity for the delegation to observe the preparation of the umu and taste a variety of Samoan cuisine.
For Leifiifi College, the activity was part of an assessment under the Samoan syllabus. The students of Taira Commercial High School demonstrated the Ikebana floral arrangements using local Samoan fauna and performed the Japanese traditional tea ceremony at each school as part of the exchange activities.
Both High Schools exchanged gifts in conclusion of the exchange.
Fukushima Prefecture was one of the main areas affected during the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami and most recently in November 2016 during the 6.9 magnitude earthquake occurred in Namie, Fukushima Prefecture.
Thus, the delegation was taken on a study tour of the 2009 Tsunami-affected areas led by the Disaster Management Office (DMO) from Saleaumua to Falealili and to the relocation area of Saleapaga.