June 7, 2018
Tokyo- A first meeting for the leaders of Japanese municipalities registered as "host towns" to welcome guests from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics participant nations was held at the prime minister's office on Wednesday.
In the meeting, Shunichi Suzuki, minister in charge of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, expressed hopes for enhanced cooperation among host municipalities.
"I hope that the meeting will offer opportunities for each leader to share know-how and strengthen ties to raise morale across Japan," he said.
The "host town" program is being promoted by the central government to boost interactions between Japanese local areas and 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics participating countries. It provides financial support to each municipality that chooses to be registered as a "host town" for a certain nation and organizes programs to welcome foreign guests such as athletes and related officials.
In Wednesday's meeting, several mayors gave presentations about their events. The presenters were the mayors of Ofunato, in the northeastern Japan prefecture of Iwate; Hamamatsu, in the central prefecture of Shizuoka; Shibetsu, in the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido; Kasama, in the eastern prefecture of Ibaraki, and Fukui, in the central prefecture of Fukui.
Shinichi Higashimura, mayor of Fukui, registered as a host for Slovenia, explained that the reason for choosing the country was that they share common traditions such as eating "soba" buckwheat noodles and having narcissus growing in clusters in cities.
"We want to interact not only in the field of sports, but also education and culture," Higashimura said. Jiji Press
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