Leaders of disaster-stricken Japanese communities visit Australia

Media Release

5 October 2012

Media release from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Leaders of two Japanese communities profoundly affected by last year's disaster will visit Australia, including flood-damaged Grantham in Queensland, TOMORROW (6 October).

The two leaders are Minami Sanriku Mayor Jin Sato and Iitate Village Council Chair Chohei Sato. The visit is funded by the Australia-Japan Foundation.

Minami Sanriku was devastated by the tsunami which swept through the town on 11 March. An Australian Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Team was despatched to Minami Sanriku on 13 March and Prime Minister Julia Gillard visited the town in April 2011. Iitate Village in Fukushima was evacuated due to its proximity to the stricken nuclear power plant.

In Grantham, the leaders will meet the Mayor and families relocated following Grantham's decision to move some neighbourhoods to higher ground.

During their visit to Australia, the community leaders will also:

  • Hold a roundtable discussion with mental health professionals from the NSW Government;
  • Meet NSW Fire and Rescue Commissioner Greg Mullins and Assistant Commissioner Rob McNeil, who led the USAR team in Minami Sanriku, and tour the Sydney Fire Station;
  • Attend the 50th Australia-Japan Joint Business Conference and Australia-Japan Foundation Address;
  • Visit a leading beef producer in Grantham (Iitate is known for its premium beef cattle).
Last Updated: 5 October 2012