By Miyoko Ishigami
NIHONMATSU, Japan, Oct 15 (KUNA) -- Japan's Nihonmatsu City, which will host Kuwait in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, has offered condolences on the passing of His Highness the late Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and expressed gratitude for his support given to the disaster-hit region.
It also lowered the Japanese and the city flags to half-mast at the city hall in honor of the late Amir, officials from Nihonmatsu City and the city's Chamber of Commerce and Industry said in a statement to Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) on Thursday.
Mayor Keiichi Miho sent a letter to Kuwaiti Ambassador to Japan Hasan Mohammad Zaman following Amir's demise, in which he said, "I would like to offer my sincerest condolences to the people of Kuwait on receiving the news of the passing of His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah," according to the statement.
"After the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, we received a generous amount of support from Kuwait For reconstruction. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude once again," said Miho.
With the approach of the Tokyo 2020 Games, Nihonmatsu City in Fukushima Prefecture, located about 200 km northeast of Tokyo, was registered as an "Arigato (Thank You) Host Town for Supporting Reconstruction" for Kuwait.
"While we were in the midst of preparing our Host Town with the hope of showing our gratitude to the Kuwaiti teams, related personnel, and all the citizens of Kuwait, we heard the tragic news of his passing," the mayor said.
"I would like to express my deepest gratitude for Kuwait's kindness, and on behalf of the people of Nihonmatsu City, I extend my heartfelt sympathy at this difficult time," Miho noted.
Both Nihonmatsu City and the city's Chamber of Commerce and Industry asked Akira Tanaka, who was former Representative of Japan Cooperation Center for the Middle East's "Japan Desk" in Kuwait and played a role in connecting Kuwait and the city, to sign the condolence book at the Kuwaiti Embassy on behalf of Mayor Miho, Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Junichi Yamaguchi and Vice-President Hideharu Ohta.
Following a magnitude 9.0-quake and tsunami disaster that devastated the region in 2011, upon instructions by the late Amir, Kuwait offered Japan a donation of 5 million barrels of crude oil worth about USD 500 million, of which nearly 40 percent was allocated to Fukushima Prefecture to support its recovery effort.
In addition, the late Amir donated USD 3 million in reconstruction assistance to "Aquamarine Fukushima." (end)