H.E. Mr. Al-Otaibi, Ambassador of the State of Kuwait to Japan Paid Visit to Ofunato City, Iwate Prefecture, to Commemorate Sanriku Railway Resume

H.E. Mr. Abdul-Rahman Al-Otaibi, the Ambassador of the State of Kuwait to Japan traveled to Ofunato City, Iwate Prefecture to attend a series of events to commemorate the partial resume of operation of Sanriku Railway South Rias Line.

The Ambassador of the State of Kuwait was invited to the Sanriku Railway South Rias Line Re-launching Ceremony as the Honorable Guest. In order to resume operation of the line, Sanriku Railway made use of the funds raised by the massive crude oil donation worth 40 billion yen from the State of Kuwait after the East Japan Great Earthquake and distributed among the disaster-struck prefectures through Japanese Red Cross Society. Sanriku Railway purchased three news train cars and restored station houses by making use of the funds.

Before the ceremony, the Ambassador was warmly welcomed by Mr. Takuya Tasso, Governor of Iwate Prefecture and Chairman of Sanriku Railway Company, Mr. Kimiaki Toda, Mayor of Ofunato City and Mr. Masahiko Mochizuki, President of Sanriku Railway Company. The Ambassador was then guided to the new train cars that carry the national emblem of Kuwait and the messages of gratitude to the State of Kuwait on their bodies.

After the performances and attractions, the ceremony commemorating the resume of operation in South Rias Line, Sanriku Railway was held. During the ceremony, Iwate Governor Mr. Tasso kindly handed a memorial gift, made of the disaster-struck rail, to the Ambassador as a token of their gratitude for the assistance. Ms. Norika Fujiwara, a popular actress was another honorable guest at the ceremony as PR Ambassador of Japanese Red Cross Society. Among the guests were H.E. Mr. Shunichi Suzuki, Parliamentary Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs and members of the House of Representatives as well as the House of Councillors.

Following the ceremony, the Ambassador was invited by Mr. Mochizuki to join the commemorative ride on the train from Yoshihama station to Sakari station. There were five stations in between them, and despite of the heavy rain, each station was filled with local residents waving flags of Sanriku Railway and the State of Kuwait anxious to celebrate the first train after two years in recess. At Koishihama station, the Ambassador made a brief drop off to leave a memorial sea shell message.