Fukushima students visit Hungary

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The city of Hódmezővásárhely started a cultural exchange program as a solidarity initiative between the two friendly nations.

Seventeen Japanese high-school students arrive to Hódmezővásárhely on Monday from the Fukushima district for the invitation of Hódmezővásárhely city representative body. Hódmezővásárhely is the first city in Europe to establish local-level contact with Japan's disaster-stricken city of Fukushima.

The students arrive to Hungary as part of the Kizuna project initiated by the local government. Japanese use this term to express human relations and friendly ties among people; this is why the organizing committee has chosen the word for the solidarity action project's title. János Lázár the mayor of Hódmezővásárhely said to MTI that the Kizuna project is not a relief operation, but a cultural project demonstrating the friendship between the two peoples.

"I want to show the world that despite the disaster, we try to remain positive about the future" - wrote one of Fukushima high school students, who described the earthquake and the following atomic reactor explosion as a life-changing experience. Due to the high level of radiation in the area, residents can't open their windows, despite the summer heat and even can't dry their cloths outside after washing them. Students can't go out to the school yard either because the contaminated soil is covered with protective plastic sheets.

During their stay in Hungary, the Japanese students visit the main cultural sites of Hódmezővásárhely and its region, then they learn about the neighboring village -- Székkutas – rustic atmosphere, and visit Lake Balaton as well.

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