Governor of Japan’s Tsunami-Hit Area Shows Gratitude to Kuwait

TOKYO, Nov 12 (KUNA) -- Governor of Japan's Iwate Prefecture Takuya Tasso has expressed his gratitude to His Highness the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and the Kuwaiti people for their unstinted support following a quake-tsunami disaster in 2011 to alleviate pain of the people in the affected areas, especially Iwate.

Tasso has made remarks during his visit to Kuwaiti Ambassador to Japan Abdulrahman Al-Otaibi, the Kuwaiti Embassy said Tuesday in a statement to KUNA.

With Kuwait's assistance, Sanriku Railway Co. in the northeastern prefecture of Iwate partially resumed its operations for earlier this year after a two-year hiatus.

Tasso said the official opening of Sanriku Railway is scheduled in April next year and extended an invitation to Al-Otaibi to participate in the ceremony.

The line, which runs along Iwate's Pacific coast, had suspended after its train cars, rails, bridges and stations were wrecked by the magnitude 9.0-quake and ensuing tsunami on March 11, 2011.

Following the catastrophe, upon directives of His Highness the Amir, Kuwait offered the donation of 5 million barrels of crude oil to Japan, equivalent to some USD 550 million, of which value was distributed to the three hardest-hit prefectures including Iwate.

The governor told the ambassador that part of JPY 8 billion (USD 90 million), his prefecture's allocated share of the Kuwaiti donation, has been used for the purchase of new railcars to restore Sanriku Railway based in the coastal city of Ofunato, which is a vital line for the region.

For his part, Al-Otaibi expressed hope that the strong ties between the friendly people of Kuwait and Japan will be elevated to a new level. (end) mk.lb KUNA 121059 Nov 13NNNN