Japanese fishing region lands $1.4mn QFF grant

Money follows previous $1.2mn funding to rebuild earthquake-hit area

NEWS, Business, Earthquake, Fishing, Qatar Friendship Fund

A $1.2mn construction project funded by the Qatar Friendship Fund to help rebuild a Japanese fishing region devastated by an earthquake has been hailed a huge success.

Following widespread devastation caused to the industry by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, QFF responded by granting the funds for the construction of a new facility in Kamaishi City, allowing fishermen to use advanced freezing technologies in storing and transporting their valuable seafood products.

And the facility has since recorded sales of over $1.8mn.

Together with the Kamaishi Hikari Foods Company, the project had originally been intended to reach around 2,500 people, but having exceeded targets by almost 400%, H.E. Yousef Bilal, Qatar’s Ambassador to Japan, said he expects the success of the Kamaishi fishermen to spread throughout the region and inspire others to follow their remarkable example.

"The people of the Tohoku region can be proud of their fisherman. Their dedication to putting food on the tables of millions of homes and the dignity with which they have picked themselves up after such tragedy is both touching and inspiring," he said.

"In just a few short years, we have seen countless examples of courage; of people doing not only what is necessary, but going beyond what is expected. These efforts are reflected in the faces of the Kamaishi fishermen and the many others whose remarkable stories will no doubt restore hope and inspire generations to come."

The announcement was made ahead of the launch of the Qatar Friendship Fund's latest project - a brand new education centre that will teach financial literacy, career planning, and citizenship to the next generation of Japanese youth in Sendai City.

As the second centre build under the 'Elem' initiative, the Elem Sendai centre will be unveiled later this week, and follows the launch of Elem Iwaki earlier in the year.

Together with Elem Iwaki, Elem Sendai's state-of-the-art simulators will allow up to 25,000 visiting school students from the Tohoku region to spend a day making important life choices as adult citizens.

With Japan suffering $309bn in damage to its economy and infrastructure, the centre is also intended to restore hope to a region that lost 15,884 lives following the devastating 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami that struck the east coast of Japan back in March 2011.

The facility was funded by a $1.4mn grant from QFF and was built in partnership with Junior Achievement - a non-profit organisation teaching youth about the value of enterprise through educational programmes.

As Japan's eleventh largest city, with an average age of 38 in a country where 40% of the population will be over 65 by 2020, H.E. Yousef Bilal said Sendai was an obvious choice to house the pioneering education programme, which will be officially launched on Tuesday.

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