World Travel and Tourism Council members have pledged to support Japan recover from the twin disasters of the tsunami and damaged Fukushima nuclear reactor and will hold their 2012 summit in Tokyo.
WTTC president and chief executive David Scowsill said: “The summit will be really important to the recovery of Japan. We need to communicate it is only a small region around the nuclear reactors that is a no-go area.”
Taleb Rifai, secretary general of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), said: “Japan’s recovery is crucial to the global scene. The immediate suffering and losses were tremendous. But there is a desire to jump-start Japan as soon as possible. We need Japan back quickly.”
Toshiba chairman Atsutoshi Nishida told the summit: “Japan is safe. In the month following the tsunami the atmosphere across the whole of Japan was one of mourning. But now there is a strong feeling people must return to their daily lives.”
He said the programme at next year’s WTTC summit would include a visit to Sendai, the city at the centre of the disaster area. Mutsutake Otsuka, chairman of the East Japan Railway Company which operates bullet trains through the disaster area as well as local rail lines, said:
“There were 27 bullet trains in the area when the earthquake struck. All stopped safely. All passengers and employees evacuated safely. The local train lines and stations were all washed away. But the 750km main line from Tokyo re-opened on April 30.”
The WTTC summit will be in Tokyo on April 17-19 next year.
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