HE the Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Khalid bin Mohamed al-Attiyah yesterday officially inaugurated Qatar Sports Park in Shirakawa City, one of the most affected regions in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in 2011.
Qatar Sports Park is part of the new major projects announced by Qatar Friendship Fund (QFF) which was launched at an initiative of HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani in a bid to support the rehabilitation efforts in the wake of March 2011 earthquake that hit regions of northeastern Japan.
The project also aims to further strengthen friendship and co-operation between Qatar and Japan.
The $5.8mn Qatar Sports Park has been financed by Qatar Friendship Fund. The project will benefit about 150,000 people of all ages, including aspiring athletes and students.
The project will comprise a new complex, including a sports centre, gymnasium and stadium, and will provide a safe and modern sporting facility for the community, with extended health benefits for local residents and serve as a venue for local competitions and other activities.
Commenting on the occasion, HE the Foreign Minister Dr Khalid bin Mohamad al-Attiyah said that the earthquake that hit eastern Japan affected the lives of millions of people specifically in Fukushima.
The launch of Shirakawa sports facility reflects the depth of partnership and friendship between the peoples of Qatar and Japan, and the spirit of mutual trust and close co-operation, which is embodied by the projects implemented by Qatar Friendship Fund, established under the guidance of HH the Emir, the Foreign Minister said.
He noted that both the Qatari and Japanese people appreciate sport and its importance to maintain the physical and mental health, stressing that the centre represents the will of the residents of this area, and their lasting passion for sport and community development.
He expressed the hope that the project would contribute to the development and reconstruction of the region through the rehabilitation of individuals, and wished success for the young athletes to participate in the activities of the World Cup 2022, to be hosted by Qatar.
The Foreign Minister reiterated Qatar’s commitment to support the Japanese people and to maintain the 40 years of friendship.
The local gymnasium in Shirakawa was used as a refuge centre for families seeking shelter from the disaster at the nearby Fukushima Daiichi power station.
The centre includes an internal sports facility named “Al Annabi Plaza” in reference to the colour of the flag of the State of Qatar and the name given to Qatar national sports teams. It includes an interactive lounge characterised by safe environment specifically designed to meet the needs of young children and their families.
At the beginning of last year, the city celebrated the rebuilding of the outer courts by holding an athletics event for 200 students from preparatory and secondary schools. The track of the centre was adopted in September 2014 as part of Shirakawa Marathon. Japanese football stars conducted a training session for about 200 students last December.
The outstanding students who participated in the training were honoured in the presence of Qatar’s ambassador to Japan and the goodwill ambassador to the Qatar Friendship Fund.
Mayor of Shirakawa City Kazuo Suzuki expressed gratitude for the Qatar Friendship Fund’s support to launch such a sports facility.
For his part, the Goodwill Ambassador to the Qatar Friendship Fund Tetsuya Bessho hailed the historic relations between Qatar and Japan, noting that the projects implemented by the Fund would further strengthen relations in all areas such as education, culture, development and trade exchange.
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