On February 19, 2015, Consuls-General from the Kansai region participated in the 2015 Hyogo-Kobe International Summit. The summit was co-organized by Hyogo Prefecture, the City of Kobe, and the Kobe Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The theme proposed and addressed by the organizers during this year’s summit was: “Disaster Risk Reduction – the initiatives and roles of local governments and Consulates General in Kansai” and specific issues discussed included the following:
• Disaster awareness raising for foreign residents
• Establishment of a safety confirmation system for foreign residents
• Roles of Consulates General in Kansai in the case of a major disaster in Tokyo Metropolitan areas
Throughout the meeting the organizers and guests openly exchanged opinions and ideas. Suggestions were solicited from Consulates General in Kansai for national and local governments regarding plans to improve disaster risk reduction.
Participants in this event included Consuls General and Consuls in Kansai, the Ambassador for Kansai Region from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as Honorary Consuls-General and Honorary Consuls. Opening comments were provided by Mr. Toshizo Ido (Governor, Hyogo Prefecture), Mr. Kizo Hisamoto (Kobe City Mayor), and Mr. Shoichi Atarashi (Vice Chairman of the KCCI).
A greeting was also provided by the Chairman of the meeting, Mr. Wols (Consul-General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Dean of the Kansai Consular Corps) who proceeded the summit.
Guests listened attentively to three presentations by the following speakers:
• A presentation by Hyogo Prefecture: Mr. Koji Matsubara, Director General, Disaster Management and Planning Bureau
• A presentation by the City of Kobe: Mr. Kenji Nagaoka, Director, Crisis Management Office
and presentations in Japanese by Consuls General:
• Mr. Wong Hong Sik, Consul of the Republic of Korea in Kobe
• Mr. Michael Stuart Shearer, Consul General of the UK in Osaka
The summit was followed by a reception, joined by the guests of honor, HE Mr. Akira Miwa, Ambassador for Kansai Region, MOFA and Mr. Takahiro Matsumoto, Vice-speaker of the Hyogo Prefectural Assembly.
Numerous members of the Kansai Consular Corps expressed their gratitude to organizers for their efforts to initiate a dialogue regarding this important topic, and look forward to more collaboration with local and national organizations in the future.