On August 24, Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, together with the diplomatic corps in Japan, visited Nagano Prefecture for the “Local to Global” Project. The overview is as follows.
Site visits in Nagano
(1) Suwa Taisha Shrine (Suwa Grand Shrine) Upper Shrine Hon-miya (Suwa City)
In the morning, Minister Hayashi and the diplomatic corps visited Suwa Taisha Shrine, which is the head shrine for Suwa shrines throughout the regions of Japan and is considered to be one of the oldest shrines in Japan, and received explanations about its history and characteristics as a structure.
(2) Kamoshika Cidre Brewery (Ina City)
Afterwards, Minister Hayashi and the diplomatic corps visited Kamoshika Cidre Brewery, a company which produces and sells cider and sparkling wine made from apples which are local specialty products, and received explanations about the cider brewing process.
(3) Exchanges of views with Mayor Ito of Komagane City and Mr. Miyashita, a member of the House of Representatives (Komagane City)
After that, Minister Hayashi, together with Mr. ITO Yuzo, Mayor of Komagane City, and Mr. MIYASHITA Ichiro, a member of the House of Representatives, exchanged opinions on efforts for international cooperation in Komagane City.
In response to explanations from Mayor Ito about the various efforts of the city, Minister Hayashi stated that vigorous initiatives by the regions fulfill a role as an important diplomatic player in terms of enhancing international mutual understanding and the position of Japan in the international community, and that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan would collaborate firmly.
(4) JICA Komagane Training Center (Komagane City)
In the afternoon, Minister Hayashi and the diplomatic corps visited the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Komagane Training Center and gave encouragement to the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV) trainees undergoing training for mission in developing countries. In the meeting subsequently held, the trainees stated their resolution regarding their activities in the countries to which they will be dispatched.
Exchanges of views over lunch with Governor of Nagano Prefecture, Mayor of Ina City, Mayor of Komagane City, Vice Mayor of Suwa City, local business representatives, and the diplomatic corps
Over a lunch featuring local ingredients, Minister Hayashi, together with Governor ABE Shuichi of Nagano Prefecture, Mayor SHIROTORI Takashi of Ina City, Mayor ITO Yuzo of Komagane City, Vice Mayor GOTO Shinji of Suwa City, Nagano business representatives, and the diplomatic corps, exchanged opinions on effective communication of Nagano Prefecture’s attractions to invigorate the local economy. Furthermore, Minister Hayashi introduced the fact as the G7 presidency, Japan hosted the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting as the G7 Presidency in Karuizawa in Nagano Prefecture in April this year and confirmed cooperation among the G7 foreign ministers, and the fact that on the occasion of offering hospitality in that meeting, local ingredients and food products from across Nagano , including the southern part of the prefecture were used in abundance, thereby promoting the appeal of the culinary culture of Nagano Prefecture. Furthermore, Minister Hayashi stated that he hoped that Nagano would have increased exposure around the world.
Roundtable dialogue with people based in Nagano
Minister Hayashi also held a round-table dialogue on the theme of “Nagano to Global” with six people who are based in Nagano and active in diverse fields such as international cooperation, tourism and start-ups, agriculture and the environment, local specialty products, and culture.
Minister Hayashi introduced the fact that he had reaffirmed the importance of the free and open international order based on the rule of law, through the G7 Hiroshima Summit and his many visits to foreign countries, and stated that he would continue to collaborate even more closely with relevant countries to take action on the issues facing by the international community. Furthermore, Minister Hayashi mentioned that Nagano Prefecture possesses much potential due to its thriving exports, including agricultural products such as grapes and rice, and wine and sake, and also due to its potential for increasing inbound tourism through, for example, its promotion of its traditional culture. He also expressed his intention to promote opportunities for people from abroad to learn about attractive local qualities of Nagano Prefecture, namely the food, culture and tourism of Japan, and to strongly advance international cooperation and international exchanges rooted in the warm-heartedness of the people of in Nagano Prefecture.
Participants offered a variety of opinions and suggestions based on their own experiences, and a lively exchange of views took place.
(Reference 1) The “Local to Global” Project 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 fifth 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), Okayama Prefecture this February, and Akita Prefecture this June.
(Reference 2) Diplomatic corps in Japan accompanying Minister Hayashi (6 countries) Canada, Ghana, Brazil, Nepal, Viet Nam, Singapore
(Reference 3) Overviews of the site visit locations
Suwa Taisha Shrine (Suwa Grand Shrine) Upper Shrine Hon-miya Suwa Taisha Shrine (Suwa Grand Shrine) is a shrine complex which has four shrine grounds in the vicinity of Lake Suwa in Nagano Prefecture, and is comprised of four shrines in two locations: the Upper Shrine (Maemiya, Hon-miya) and the Lower Shrine (Harumiya, Akimiya). It is the head shrine for the Suwa shrines throughout the regions of Japan and is considered to be one of the oldest shrines in Japan. The history of the Suwa Taisha Shrine is extremely long. The Kojiki tells a story set in Izumo in which a deity opposed kuniyuzuri [the passing of the rulership of Japan from the earthly gods to the heavenly gods] and therefore came to Suwa and built a country there. Furthermore, in the Nihon Shoki it is written that Empress Jito dispatched imperial envoys to the shrine. It is built in a distinctive style called “Suwa design” which does not have a honden [the main hall where the deity is enshrined], and six of the Upper Shrine structures have been designated National Important Cultural Properties.
Kamoshika Cidre Brewery
Kamoshika Cidre Brewery is a company established in Ina City, Nagano Prefecture in 2016 which produces and sells cider and sparkling wine made from apples. It is the first specialized cider brewery in Nagano, and it takes special care regarding the apples and yeast, which are the raw ingredients, and the brewing environment including the brewing tanks, etc., in order to realize the fresh flavor of the apples and the fruit flavor in the cider. Since the brewery commenced producing in 2016, the manufactured cider has won prizes for six consecutive years, from 2017 to 2022, in the Fuji Cider Challenge, an international cider competition.
JICA Komagane Training Center
Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers are dispatched based on requests from developing countries and communities of people with Japanese descent in the Latin America region, and they work together with the local people to solve issues in those countries and regions. The dispatch period is generally two years. Furthermore, the Komagane Training Center was opened in 1979 as the second pre-dispatch training center after the Hiroo Training Center established in 1968 (and closed in 2012). Its objective is to cultivate the mental preparedness and the minimum necessary knowledge, abilities, and aptitudes, such as languages, understanding of different cultures, etc., necessary for a member of JOCV. The training is conducted for approximately 60 days in a training camp format. To date, more than 21,000 volunteers have completed their training at Komagane Training Center and departed.