Message from the Governor of Yamaguchi Prefecture
Hello, Ladies and Gentlemen. I am Tsugumasa Muraoka, Governor of Yamaguchi Prefecture.
I am pleased to say that the Japan-Russia Summit Meeting in Nagato City, Yamaguchi Prefecture, finished successfully. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all those involved as well as to the citizens of Nagato City for their efforts in holding this meeting, and to the people of Yamaguchi Prefecture for their understanding and cooperation.
Since this meeting was decided to be held, Yamaguchi Prefecture has strived to meticulously prepare for it in close cooperation with the national government and Nagato City. I am relieved that the meeting was smoothly held and successfully concluded, despite the sudden scheduling changes and unfavorable weather conditions on December 15 and 16, 2016, when President Putin and Prime Minister Abe stayed in Nagato City.
Although we were regrettably unable to have President Putin visit and communicate with local communities, this meeting provided the opportunity to create public awareness of the special historical relationship between Yamaguchi Prefecture and Russia, as well as local people’s enthusiasm to welcome the Russian president. Many local people came to meet him, though he arrived at the venue in the rainy twilight of December 15. Many dishes served at the working dinner in the evening of the same day were prepared with Nagato City’s specialty products such as Senzaki squid, Nagato Yuzukichi citrus fruit and Choshu chicken, and many specialties of other areas in Yamaguchi Prefecture, including tiger puffer fish, anglerfish and Iwakuni lotus root. Those attending the dinner also enjoyed locally brewed sake. When we said farewell to President Putin at Yamaguchi Ube Airport, he directly gave us a few words of gratitude. I am delighted that he appreciated our hospitality and the spirit in which it was given.
Moreover, this summit meeting offered us the excellent opportunity to disseminate information about Yamaguchi Prefecture to people in Japan and abroad. In addition to the attention given to our prefecture through the extensive media coverage, we devoted a great deal of energy to sharing the charms of our prefecture with people around the world, in collaboration with Nagato City, in various ways, including sending a delegation to Moscow to promote the prefecture’s specialties and provide tourism information, cooperating with overseas media representatives in their coverage of tourist destinations, companies and other places in the prefecture, and conducting PR activities at the press center, where press people from Japan and abroad came together. We will make the best use of the increased attention our prefecture has been able to receive through these efforts, to attract more tourists and expand the markets for our prefecture’s specialty products.
Furthermore, Yamaguchi Prefecture and Nagato City are considering building new exchange relationships with Russia. With Sochi City, which was the host city of the Japan-Russia Summit Meeting in May this year and is a hot spring resort, just like Nagato City, and Krasnodar Krai, the administrative territory containing the city—the prospective partners of Nagato City and Yamaguchi Prefecture, respectively—we are planning to deliberate on the details of these exchange relationships, including specific fields and programs, in coordination with the Japanese government. I hope that this new rapport will contribute to further development of these areas on both sides, and deeper relations between Japan and Russia.
As I have mentioned, this Japan-Russia Summit Meeting was not only a historic event in enabling Yamaguchi Prefecture to serve as an arena for diplomatic relations for the first time in 121 years, but has also left us a great legacy. I would like to extend my sincere gratitude again to all those involved for their cooperation, and to express our determination to make the best use of this legacy to achieve a “Yamaguchi Prefecture filled with vigor.”
Tsugumasa Muraoka, Governor of Yamaguchi Prefecture