TOKYO, March 22 (KUNA) -- His Highness the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah decided to make a fresh contribution to the disaster-stricken Fukushima Prefecture, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Khalid Al-Jarallah said on Thursday.
His Highness the Amir reported the decision to Fukushima Governor Yuhei Sato during his meeting at Akasaka Palace in Tokyo with governors of the three hardest-hit prefectures of northeastern Japan and Japan Red Cross Society President Tadateru Konoe. According to Al-Jarallah, the Amir will give USD 2 million to help reconstruction efforts of Fukushima, home to the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, as well as USD 3 million to rebuild the heavily-damaged sea museum "Aquamarine Fukushima." Speaking to Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) and Kuwait TV, Fukushima Governor Sato expressed appreciation to His Highness the Amir for his fresh grant to restore the sea-life museum, which was very popular among children in eastern Japan but hit by a magnitude 9.0-quake and ensuring tsunami in March last year. "The restoration of this popular sea-life museum will become a symbol of revival of Fukushima, as well as the relationship with Kuwait." Sato also thanked the Amir for the donation of 5 million barrels of crude oil, value of which was distributed through the Japan Red Cross Society to the three prefectures of Miyagi, Fukushima, and Iwate, which suffer from acute financial difficulties following the March catastrophe.
Kuwait's generous donation was sent upon directives of His Highness the Amir following the March 11 disasters that left more than 19,000 people dead or missing in the northeastern region.
For his part, Iwate Governor Takuya Tasso said, "During the meeting with His Highness the Amir, I thanked him and the Kuwaiti people for their support and generosity, especially the free oil." Tasso said that the JPY 8.4 billion (USD 101 million), his prefecture's allocated share of the Kuwaiti donation, has been used for various reconstruction projects, including financial assistance for survivors and rehabilitation of agriculture and fishery industries.
"With Kuwait's aid, we will also be able to restore the severely-damaged Sanriku Railway's railroads and a train station, and purchase new trains," Tasso said, adding that a memorial will be built at the railway station to mark the Kuwaiti contribution to its rebuilding.
"The people in Iwate Prefecture are deeply grateful for the Kuwaiti assistance," the governor said, expressing keenness to promote the relations between Kuwait and his prefecture.
Kuwait's gift of 5 million barrels of crude oil was the largest contribution to Japan by any country in this critical period. According to Konoe, who doubles as President of International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the donated oil was already delivered to four Japanese refiners late last year. In order to implement visible assistance, the Japan Red Cross Society established a relief fund with money to the value of the free oil worth some USD 550 million.
The aid covers eight areas, such as infrastructure recovery, support for medical care, education, employment, and agriculture in the three hardest-hit prefectures.
Largest contribution to Japan by any country? ......Wow.