(GOVT. PRESS SECRETARIAT); Iwaki City in Japan will be the home for Samoan athletes and officials for two major sporting events happening in Tokyo.
A Statement of Mutual Agreement to this effect was inked this afternoon in Apia by the Samoa Rugby Union Chairman and Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi and Iwaki City Mayor Toshio Shimizu.
In acknowledging Iwaki City’s generosity, the Prime Minister says that Samoa is grateful to the City and her people for opening their homes to host our elite athletes especially the Manu Samoa as they prepare for the World Cup Campaign in Tokyo next year.
He personally extended his sincere appreciation to Mayor Shimizu for hosting him and his delegation during his State Visit to Japan earlier this year.
The document is a broad agreement of arrangements for Iwaki City to host the Manu Samoa during the preliminary training camps of the Rugby World Cup 2019 and the Tokyo Olympic Games 2020.
The agreement covers accommodation, meals, facilities, transport and hospitality.
And it’s a blessing, the Prime Minister complimented during his Taimi male Palemia weekly television program this week.
“Hosting the Manu Samoa will translate to savings to the Union of more than $500-thousand tala. That is a tremendous financial assistance to our union,” said the SRU Chairman. “For the city to come to our hour of need, is a testament of Iwaki’s genuine kindness.
“We have long since established an informal mutual understanding with the Iwaki City some years back after they were devastated by a disastrous tsunami.
“Samoa responded with a donation of $100,000 tala to assist Iwaki with her tsunami recovery effort. And as Good Samaritans to Samoa, they have repaid our meagre assistance with humility by helping our Rugby Union and Olympics preparations.”
The signing culminates almost two years of negotiations, consultations and site visits for the parties involved with Samoa’s Ambassador to Japan, Fa’alavaau Perina Sila-Tualaulelei taking the lead on the ground in Tokyo.
Already the two signatories have endorsed a Memorandum of Understanding which includes a cultural and sports exchange as part and parcel of promoting Samoa-Japan relations especially at the local level.
And so far Samoa’s Under 18 national side are the first recipients of the cultural and sports exchange at the end of a successful tour of Iwaki City last May while the Prime Minister was in Tokyo during his State Visit.