May 22(Sunday)

"No. 20 [Reconstruction Support] Reconstruction Action!
A visit to a shop selling Fukushima products!"


Fukushima Prefecture continues to suffer due to harmful rumors about radiation. Hoping to cheer the Prefecture on, after the Great East Japan Earthquake many more people began to visit a shop selling Fukushima-made products outside of Tokyo Station. The Prime Minister recently visited the shop as a customer and learned about sold out local sake and the pride local craftspeople put into making their products. He also gave a comment to media sent to cover the visit when he was done.



<Standing near the front of the shop, the Prime Minister points at a flag>

Prime Minister: Can you see that over there? It's for Reconstruction Action. There are many ways to support the disaster-affected region. I came to this store today to show my support by eating and drinking local products.


The Fukushima Prefecture Tourism Promotion Shop in Yaesu (Chuo Ward, Tokyo)

<Shop staff tries to draw in customers>

Staff: Good morning! Welcome, please come in! Thank you!


<The crowded shop interior>

Opened in 2009, the shop promotes tourism to Fukushima Prefecture and sells local goods.
It also hosts sales events organized by the Prefecture's cities, towns and villages.


<The Prime Minister visited the store on May 8>


<The Prime Minister spoke to the media outside the store>

Prime Minister: Nobuko (Mrs. Kan) came here a while ago and told me they had many interesting things. I've wanted to stop by ever since, and well, here I am.


<Inside the shop>

Shop Manager: Right now we're busy even during weekdays. Mrs. Kan came by during the Golden Week holiday period just at the beginning of May, and it was so crowded that I actually didn't notice her!


The store is so busy that even the Prime Minister's wife can come and go unnoticed.
The number of people wanting to support Fukushima has increased dramatically since the earthquake, pushing sales 7-8 times higher than normal some days.


<The Prime Minister speaks with shop customers>

Prime Minister: Where are you from?

Child: Adachi Ward...

Prime Minister: Did you come to show your support for Fukushima?

Child: (Nods)


<The Prime Minister received a taste test of shop products>

Female clerk: This is tofu pickled in miso...

Prime Minister: Wow... (The Prime Minister smiles broadly)

Female clerk: It's so very rich in taste, right? (The Prime Minister nods) The soybeans are fermented that way...

Prime Minister: It's like a gourmet cheese.

Female clerk: It really is.


The tofu is made using soybeans cultivated in Fukushima.
It's pickled in miso for three months and then fermented at a low temperature.


Prime Minister: This is really good. Where's it from?

Female clerk: Minamisoma City.

Shop Manager: They had to stop making it for about two weeks after the earthquake.


<A shop clerk pours the Prime Minister a glass of sake>

Prime Minister: Thank you. (The Prime Minister drinks the sake) It's so smooth, isn't it?

Female clerk: Yes, it's a daiginjo sake (a very special brew). It's won gold prizes at the National New Sake Awards (ten times in total).

Man: The sake you had from Aizu a moment ago, as well as our sake from Fukushima Prefecture, just won't sell. It's because of the rumors about radiation. I want the Government to do something about this - on the television or something like that.


<On the other hand, there are also sakes not affected by harmful rumors...>

Prime Minister : I've heard you have a sake from Iitate Village?

Shop Manager: Well, yesterday...

Prime Minister: Is it sold out?

Shop manager: We sold out on Friday and Saturday.

Prime Minister: It's sold out?

Shop Manager: We sold 800 bottles in two days.


Sake made in Iitate - the first village to evacuate.
With harvest restrictions placed on rice this year, the sake brewers in the village won't be able to obtain the ingredients they need...


Shop Manager: People are calling it a 'phantom sake,' since it has become so rare. So many people were lined up to purchase a bottle on Friday and Saturday that we sold out.


<All six of the Prime Minister's plates and glasses are empty...>

Prime Minister's Office Staff: People don't usually eat everything during a taste test.

Prime Minister: (Blushing) Well, it's just about lunchtime...

Female clerk: I'm so glad you liked it.

Prime Minister: Thank you, really. It was delicious.


<The Prime Minister heads to the register to purchase his selections>

Female clerk 2: Your total comes to 7,843 yen.

Prime Minister: What's this?

Female clerk 3: That's an okiagari-koboshi doll. Every time it falls over it stands right back up.
Everyone is struggling so much right now. I want people to look at this doll and think "We can do this" or "It's going to be okay." I want everyone to realize there's still hope.



<After finishing his shopping, the Prime Minister greets the press outside>

Prime Minister: We need to compensate the disaster-affected region for the issues we have responsibility for, including reputational damage. Before that compensation begins to be paid out, I hope we can do away with harmful rumors by having everyone come and purchase goods from Fukushima. The products here are absolutely safe.


<With reporting complete, the Prime Minister looks around at each reporter>

Prime Minister's Office Staff: Okay, thank you everyone.

Prime Minister: I hope each one of you will also buy at least one thing before you go. Don't just report and leave, I want everyone to buy something.


<The Prime Minister begins to leave>

Shop staff: Thank you!

Prime Minister: I really wish you all the best. Good-bye!

Child: Bye bye!


<A message to the entire nation>

Shop Manager: In terms of tourism, Fukushima Prefecture is really going through hard times right now. I think the most helpful thing that anyone can do is to visit Fukushima and purchase its products. I encourage everyone to take a trip to Fukushima.


(Website linked from this post is provided in Japanese only)

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