Uchibori Masao Governor Fukushima Prefecture
First of all, I would like to express my heartfelt pleasure and appreciation that the 89th F.I.C.C. International Rally will be held in Ten-ei Village, Fukushima Prefecture. I would also like to thank all the people who have been contributing to make this event happen.
I would also like to take this opportunity to extend my sincere appreciation for the vast amount of support we have received from people around the world in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake and the nuclear power station disaster that occurred in March 2011.
Thanks to support from people all over the world and the dedicated efforts of the people of Fukushima, Fukushima Prefecture is steadily making progress towards revitalization. In most parts of the prefecture, people commute to work and school in the same way as before the disaster, consuming and using products produced in the prefecture without worry. However, harmful rumors about Fukushima remain deep-rooted. There are still countries which have not yet lifted import restrictions on agricultural, forestry, and fisheries products produced in Fukushima Prefecture. In addition, it is a fact that despite foreign visitor numbers to Japan are increasing that there are tourists who avoid Fukushima Prefecture.
It is my hope that those of you who have come to participate in this rally will deepen your friendships with each other and with the local people, while enjoying the local hot springs, excursions to Aizu and the Coastal Region, and thus that you will get a full sense of the natural beauty of Fukushima and the warmth of its people.
In addition, I hope that you will enjoy our world renowned local foods. Fukushima has also had the highest number of Gold Award-winning sake brands at the Annual Japan Sake Awards for seven years in a row. I hope you enjoy our finest sake that is the fruits of Fukushima’s rich nature and the efforts of local people. The rally season will be filled with fresh pears and grapes that are also our pride. Lastly, Fukushima is one of the most famous places for rice in Japan with our signature Ten-ei brand, so you can enjoy delicious rice wherever you eat.
I hope that all of you will have a good time in Fukushima during this rally and pass on how much fun you had here and how much you enjoyed Fukushima. Lastly, I would be honored if you could come back and visit Fukushima again someday.
I sincerely look forward to seeing you again.