1. Ambassador Mataitoga pays courtesy call on Kamaishi City Mayor

Mayor Noda and Ambassador Mataitoga

On Friday, 7 June 2019, HE Mr. Isikeli Mataitoga paid a courtesy call on His Worship Takenori Noda, Mayor of Kamaishi City in Iwate Prefecture. The call is aimed at encouraging both parties to work cooperatively for the promotion of the 2019RWC and its exchange opportunities. 

At the outset, Mayor Noda thanked the Ambassador for visiting Kamaishi city, to which the Ambassador also proceeded to convey his deepest condolences and sympathies to all those affected by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, which claimed numerous victims and caused devastating damages. The Mayor further thanked Fiji and the rest of the world for their support and help after the devastating disasters, and stressed that it’d been eight years since the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.

Ambassador Mataitoga and Mayor Noda discussed various areas which included Kamaishi hosting the Pacific Nations Cup on 27 July 2019; the 2019RWC match between Fiji and Uruguay at Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium; sports, education, and cultural exchanges and tourism promotional activities. The Ambassador also sought the support of Mayor Noda in developing community-to-community relations between the people of Kamaishi and Fiji, through tourism promotion, study tours for school students from Kamaishi to visit Fiji. This, after all, is part of the PALM 8 Iwaki Declaration, and in particular the Local Government Networking Framework – increasing exposure and people to people exchanges between Japan and Fiji/PICs.

Ambassador Mataitoga also cited ongoing successful exchanges between Fiji and Saga, Oita and Akita, and Takanezawa machi of Tochigi Prefecture respectively. Fiji’s interest in attracting tourists from Kamaishi was noted, particularly given information re resumption of Nadi-Narita direct flights from 3 July 2018, Fiji needs the regional connections to be made in such a way that will allow an increasing number of visitors from Japan.

Mayor Noda expressed his support and confidence that the friendly exchanges between Fiji and Kamaishi city would be further enhanced. He then thanked the Ambassador for visiting and for promoting close cooperation ties between Fiji and Kamaishi, Iwate.

  • Site Visits

Later in the afternoon on Friday, 7 June 2019, Ambassador Mataitoga visited Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium in Kamaishi city, Iwate prefecture, the second match venue for the match between the Flying Fijians and Uruguay.

Located in Unosumai Kamaishi, Iwate, the stadium offers a seating capacity of about 16,000, which will be completed this year, before the RWC match. As stressed by Mayor Noda, the beautiful stadium, completed with the support and vision of so many people, is a dream come true. It is noted that the stadium has been built on the former grounds of the Kamaishi Higashi Junior High School and Unosumai Elementary School. All six hundred students at school at the time of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami survived. As described by the guide, the stadium which stands as a testament to the indomitable spirit of the people of Kamaishi city is hoped to also act as a beacon of hope and inspiration for generations to come. The people of Kamaishi are excited and looking forward to the two matched that will be hosted in Kamaishi during the 2019RWC, i.e., Fiji vs. Uruguay (25/Sept.), and Namibia vs. Canada (13/Oct.).