Foreign Minister Hayashi to Visit Akita Prefecture
(“Local to Global” Project) (Result)
On June 17, Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, together with the diplomatic corps in Japan, visited Akita Prefecture for the “Local to Global” Project. Minister Hayashi was accompanied by Mr. TAKEI Shunsuke, State Minister for Foreign Affairs. The overview is as follows.
In particular, the visit to the offshore wind farm mentioned in 1(3) is expected to provide a good opportunity for us to disseminate Japan’s efforts towards decarbonization based on the outcomes of the G7 Hiroshima Summit to the diplomatic corps including so-called Global South countries, and for those countries to use it as a reference for their own efforts on the issue. Also, it is expected to serve as an opportunity to promote efforts to address climate change, which is an urgent common issue for all mankind.
1. Site visits in Akita
(1) Akita Shurui Seizoh Co., Ltd.’s Goshono-Gura Brewery
In the morning, Minister Hayashi and the diplomatic corps visited Goshono-Gura Brewery, a sake brewery belonging to Akita Shurui Seizoh Co., Ltd., which manufactures and sells Takashimizu, a leading brand of Akita sake, and received explanations about a variety of information, including the brewery’s sake brewing process that combines traditional artisanal techniques with cutting-edge temperature control technologies.
(2) Akita City Folk Performing Arts Heritage Center
Afterwards, Minister Hayashi and the diplomatic corps visited Akita City Folk Performing Arts Heritage Center (known affectionately as Neburi Nagashi Kan), which preserves and continues the traditions of local folk events and performing arts including the Kanto Festival. They received explanations about Akita’s festivals and tried lifting kanto pole lanterns.
(3) Akita Offshore Wind Farm（Port Tower Selion）
In the afternoon, Minister Hayashi and the diplomatic corps visited Port Tower Selion, an observation tower that looks out over Akita Port. They received explanations from representatives of Akita Offshore Wind Corporation about the company’s initiatives related to Japan’s first large-scale offshore wind farms to be operated on a commercial basis and, from the observation hall, were shown the offshore wind turbine that began commercial operation in Akita Port this January.
2. Exchanges of views over lunch with Akita Governor, Deputy Mayor of Akita City, local business representatives, and the diplomatic corps
Over a lunch featuring local ingredients, Minister Hayashi, together with Governor SATAKE Norihisa of Akita Prefecture, Deputy Mayor KAMADA Kiyoshi of Akita City, Akita business representatives, and the diplomatic corps, exchanged opinions on effective communication of Akita Prefecture’s attractions to invigorate the local economy. Furthermore, regarding the site visit of the offshore wind farm scheduled for after lunch, Minister Hayashi expressed his expectations that the promotion of wind power and other initiatives will contribute to achieving decarbonization while ensuring Japan’s energy security.
3. Roundtable dialogue with people based in Akita
Finally, Minister Hayashi held a round-table dialogue on the theme of “Akita to Global” with six people, including youths, who are based in Akita and active in diverse fields such as local specialty products and entrepreneurship, international exchange, culture, tourism, the environment, and childrearing support that includes foreign nationals.
Minister Hayashi introduced his views on the current situation in the international community and explained that, at the G7 Hiroshima Summit, the leaders confirmed that they will respond to the challenges facing the international community. He also mentioned Akita’s promotion of the use of renewable energies based on its rich reserves of natural resources, touched upon Akita’s potential for increasing inbound tourism, including its lush natural environment, and its traditional culture, such as the Kanto Festival, and expressed his intention to promote opportunities for people from abroad to learn about Akita’s wind power and other high-level technologies, and attractive local qualities including Akita’s food, culture, tourism.
Participants offered a variety of opinions and suggestions based on their own experiences, and a lively exchange of views took place.
The project aims at stimulating inbound tourism and further vitalizing each of the regions by having members of the corps experience its charm and deepen their understanding through dialogue with the local people, and encouraging them to promote such regions to citizens in their own countries. This is the fourth round of the “Local to Global” Project following his visits to Nagasaki Prefecture last November, Miyagi Prefecture and Yamagata Prefecture last December (none of diplomatic corps participated), and Okayama Prefecture this February.
Paraguay, Mexico, South Africa, Liberia, Norway, Bulgaria, Laos, Sri Lanka, India
- Akita Shurui Seizoh Co., Ltd.’s Goshono-Gura Brewery
Akita Shurui Seizoh Co., Ltd. was established in 1944, and manufactures and sells Takashimizu, a leading brand of Akita sake. Goshono-Gura Brewery, which was the location of the site visit, preserves traditional artisanal techniques, while also introducing cutting-edge temperature controllers, and the brewing is done by a small number of exceptional young staff. The sake it brews has won the Gold Prize at the Annual Japan Sake Awards for 19 consecutive years, and the brewery continues to break its own records for most consecutive prizes by a single brewery and Toji brew master.
- Akita City Folk Performing Arts Heritage Center (known affectionately as Neburi Nagashi Kan)
Akita City Folk Performing Arts Heritage Center (known affectionately as Neburi Nagashi Kan) was opened in 1992 to preserve and continue the traditions of local folk events and performing arts including the Kanto Festival. The exhibit hall, which was the location of the site visit, houses permanent exhibits such as panels showcasing Akita festivals, including the Kanto Festival, and the Tsuchizaki Shinmeisha Festival and its Hikiyama Parades, and allows visitors to try lifting kanto pole lanterns.
- Akita offshore wind farms (Port Tower Selion)
Akita Offshore Wind Corporation (AOW), which operates Akita offshore wind farms, was established in April 2016 and is implementing the first large-scale offshore wind power project in Japan on a commercial basis. Under its offshore wind power plant project at Akita Port and Noshiro Port in Akita Prefecture, AOW has deployed 20 4.2-megawatt (MW) wind turbines at Noshiro Port, and 13 of them at Akita Port, and started commercial operation of this large-scale offshore wind power project on December 22, 2022 at Noshiro Port, and on January 31, 2023 at Akita Port. AOW is expected to sell approximately 140MW in total electric power for the next 20 years since the start of operation,, equivalent to the power consumed by approximately 130,000 regular households, to Tohoku Electric Power Network Co., Inc. Port Tower Selion has a total height of 143 m, and its observation hall (3rd floor) stands at 93 m above the ground.