Iwaki City in Japan is set to become the home of Samoan athletes and officials for two major sporting events happening in Tokyo.
The events are the 2019 Rugby World Cup and 2020 Olympic Games.
This follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Samoa and Iwaki City last week.
The M.O.U. also sees the formal commencement of cultural and sports exchanges between Samoa and the city of Iwaki.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, as the Chairman of the Samoa Rugby Union (S.R.U), signed M.O.U. in Apia.
In Japan, Samoa’s Ambassador to Japan, Fa’alavaau Perina Sila-Tualaulelei signed with the Mayor of Iwaki City, Toshio Shimizu.
Samoa’s Honorary Consul in Iwaki, Naomi Inoue, was also present.
According to Fa’alavaau, the M.O.U. 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. The cultural and sports exchange is part and parcel of promoting Samoa-Japan relations especially at the local level.
The signing culminates 14 months of negotiations, consultations and site visits for the parties involved.
About Iwaki City
Iwaki is a city located in the southern part of the Hamadōri coastal region of Fukushima Prefecture, Japan.
A designated core city, Iwaki is also one of the growing number of hiragana cities. Its total area is 1,231.35 km²,making it the 10th largest city in Japan (2010). Its estimated population as of May 2011 is 337,288, making it the biggest city of the prefecture. Iwaki has a population density of 270 persons per km².
The present “Iwaki City” started as the merger of 14 municipalities on October 1, 1966. The city was the third hiragana city, following Chino, Nagano and Mutsu, Aomori. The area was the largest in Japan at the time. The city works as an industrial hub of Tōhoku region, and is rich in sightseeing resources. As of 2005, about 7.6 million sightseers visit the city a year. Every year Iwaki hosts the Taira Tanabata Festival from 6–8 August.