France celebrates Bastille Day in Fukushima
In a mark of solidarity, France on Thursday moved its overseas Bastille Day celebrations in Japan from Tokyo to Fukushima prefecture, which was hit hard by the 11 March quake, tsunami and nuclear disaster.
It was the first time France has moved a foreign celebration of its national day to a venue outside the host country's capital.
Six hundred quake survivors joined the celebration, which was hosted by French Culture and Communication Minister Frederic Mitterrand.
Mitterrand said he had witnessed how "the French people have followed with a heavy heart the misfortune that has touched the kind people of Japan".
Praising the will, dignity and courage of the Japanese, the minister said his visit was "proof of the fraternity between the French people and the Japanese people,” urging them to “move forward together".
The celebration was held at Koriyama, 220 kilometres north of Tokyo, in the same prefecture as the tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear plant, which emergency crews are still working to shutdown.
The reception, organized with the help of a dozen Michelin starred-French and Japanese chefs, was at the initiative of French ambassador Philippe Faure.
"This is an opportunity to bring some comfort to those who most need it now, and it shows the solidarity of France during a difficult time with our Japanese friends," Faure told the guests.
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