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INTERVIEW: Envoy lauds Tunisia-Ishinomaki ties via host-town initiative

  • March 12, 2021
  • , Jiji Press , 3:54 p.m.
  • English Press
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 Ishinomaki, Miyagi Pref., March 12 (Jiji Press)–Tunisia’s ties with Ishinomaki through a host town initiative for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics enabled the African nation to expand its friendships with the people of Japan, its ambassador to Japan, Mohamed Elloumi, has said.


Elloumi, who attended a memorial ceremony in the Miyagi Prefecture city on Thursday to mark the 10th anniversary of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that ravaged Japan’s northeastern coastal areas, expressed hopes for deeper ties between the two nations in interviews with Jiji Press.


Ishinomaki, on the Pacific coast, is registered as an “Arigato” Host Town for Supporting Reconstruction for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, which links cities hit hard by the disaster with countries and regions that offered support in its aftermath.


“‘Host Town’ and ‘Arigato Host Town’ are two great initiatives through which people-to-people exchanges can take a new shape through sports and culture,” the ambassador said.


He noted that the Tunisian kendo team and a swimmer were able to interact with the people of Ishinomaki when they visited the country.


Asked about his hopes for Japan-Tunisia ties after the Tokyo Games, he said, “I hope that people, and particularly the young generation, will learn more about Tunisia, its history and culture, and that we share the same values and face the same challenges.”


Elloumi said that interactions between his country and Ishinomaki began some 30 years ago.


After the 2011 disaster, the African nation sent supplies and donations to Japan, and its embassy in Tokyo conducted soup kitchens for disaster victims in April and May that year.


“I am here today to express to the people of Ishinomaki strong feelings of solidarity and sympathy for the victims’ families,” he said of his attendance at the memorial ceremony.


Elloumi said that he has visited Ishinomaki on multiple occasions since his first visit as ambassador in 2016.


“Every time I visit Ishinomaki, I have special feelings. The Ishinomaki people always welcomes us…warmly,” he said.

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