For Immediate Release
May 14, 2012
Office of the Premier
Premier Visits Sendai
NATORI, Miyagi Prefecture – Premier Clark visited the Yuriage Shrine at Hiyoriyama today to lay a bouquet in memory of the thousands who lost their lives in last year’s tsunami.
“Our friends in Japan suffered a tragedy last year and British Columbia wants to help them rebuild, to see them emerge even stronger,” said Premier Clark. “I’m honoured to be here, to witness the beginning of that rebuilding process and to see so many people who are committed to the recovery of this region.”
The Premier also witnessed the signing of the first MOU between the City of Natori and the Canada Wood Group under the Canada Tohoku Reconstruction Project. The MOU will lead to the rebuilding of the Yuriage City Public Market. This will be the first project undertaken by the $4.5 million Canada Tohoku Reconstruction Project, which includes $2 million each from both the Government of Canada and Government of British Columbia, and a $500,000 donation from Canada's forest industry.
Following the MOU signing, she visited Yuriage Junior High School students who are temporarily housed at Fujigaoka Elementary since their school was destroyed in the disaster. Second year students are candidates in a Victoria, B.C. study exchange.
Premier Clark also met Masahiro Wako, Vice-Governor of Miyagi Prefecture in Sendai to extend condolences, and pledge continued support from British Columbia. During the meeting Premier Clark emphasized the importance of Japan and British Columbia’s long-standing cultural ties and strong relationships.
In addition to the reconstruction project, Western Forest Products, a leading producer of wood products from the B.C. coast, donated several Douglas fir and cedar logs to the Miyagi Prefectural government to replace masts from a 400 year-old tall ship, a historical treasure and tourist destination, damaged in the tsunami.
“As soon as we learned of the damaged ship we were hoping to support the recovery program wherever possible,” said Lee Doney, Vice Chairman, Western Forest Products. “It required some planning to get the appropriate logs to the project and it couldn’t have been done without the support of the Provincial and Federal government through the CWEP program.”
Upon her arrival in Tokyo, Premier Clark hosted a Friends of British Columbia reception at which she encouraged all participants, including those who have lived, worked, or studied in the province, to act as ambassadors in strengthening ties between British Columbia and Japan.
A backgrounder follows.
Trade Mission Key Announcements for Tuesday, May 14
· The University of Northern British Columbia and Gakushuin Women’s College signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop academic areas of mutual interest. The two are agreeing to establish a relationship to develop study abroad programs, exchange students and faculty members, promote the cooperation in academic activities, and develop other mutually beneficial programs. The schools also launched a new high definition video link between the two campuses.
· The University of Northern British Columbia and the Japan Travel Bureau Business World Tokyo Corporation signed a Memorandum of Understanding to promote, encourage, and facilitate the development and internationalization of higher education in B.C.
· Royal Roads University and VIEC International Inc. of Japan signed a Memorandum of Understanding toward development and implementation of programs specific to the Japanese market, as well as the promotion of mutual understanding between the two organizations.
· The Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Japan and Canada Japan Society of British Columbia signed a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen cooperation between the two organizations, including exchange of information, work to further improve and expand trade relations, and to promote cooperation among government officials and the business community.
Stay up to Date with the Trade Mission
During the Jobs and Trade Mission to Japan, Korea and the Philippines, photos, video footage and updates will be readily accessible online.
Media can download raw footage, photos, audio on www.sendtonews.com when it is available.
To view and download photos from the Asia Trade Mission visit: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjz4PFfy
Follow the Asia Trade Mission at: http://www.britishcolumbia.ca/Connect/PremiersMission2012/Pages/PremiersMission.aspx
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation
Connect with the Province of B.C. at www.gov.bc.ca/connect