Beverley Town Council welcomes Delegation from Japan
On Tuesday 17th January 2023, Beverley Town Council welcomed a special delegation from Japan.
Hailing from Futaba-machi, the guests included the Mayor Mr Shiro Izawa, the Chairman of Town Congress Mr Tetsuo Itoh, Vice Chairman of Fukushima Prefectural Association Ms Kaoru Furukawa and other official, civic and journalistic representatives from the town. They were greeted by the Mayor of Beverley Councillor Linda Johnson, Macebearer Mr Peter Nendick and officers from Beverley Town Council.
The links between Futaba-machi came about due to two UK nationals working there via the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme – Anthony Ballard from Hull and Philip Jellyman from Beverley.
Both teachers have become popular members of the Futaba-machi community and stayed to work in the area following The Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, such was their commitment to their teaching vocation.
The Mayor of Beverley explained: “The whole world remembers the dreadful events of March 2011, when Japan was hit by a massive earthquake, which led to a tsunami and the nuclear disaster at Fukushima. Due to its proximity to the power station, Futaba-machi was completely evacuated and as Mr Izawa explained, only around 60 residents have so far been able to move back out of what was a population of circa 11,000. Anthony and Philip were evacuated with the rest of the town, but were determined to stay to help rebuild the community that has been so welcoming to them. This visit to England gave representatives from Futaba-machi to meet the families of both men, see their home towns and visit the wider UK to help build links. It was an honour to meet Anthony and Philip, who have done so much for the people of Futaba-machi and are wonderful ambassadors for Beverley and Hull. It was also a delight to meet Mr Izawa and the rest of his party, who thoroughly enjoyed their time with us.”
As part of their visit to Beverley, the delegation enjoyed a traditional pint in one the town’s most historic pubs – The Monks Walk. A video presentation was played which showed greetings from Futaba-machi, civic speeches were made and gifts were exchanged.
So impressed was Mr Izawa by the hospitality shown, that he joked he was ending his speech early so he could enjoy another pint of good English beer.
It is hoped that more official links will be established between Beverley and Futaba-machi in the future, to create stronger bonds between the people of the UK and Japan.