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Japanese Tsunami Group Visit L&B

Wednesday 7th September 2016

Four Japanese experts working on the regeneration of coastal communities hit by the 2011 Tsunami, and the related Fukushima nuclear accident, visited the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway this week.  Pictured above alongside Visiting Professor at Leeds Beckett University and Research Fellow at Bristol University, Bernard Lane and L&B volunteer Alec Pickersgill at Woody Bay Station.

The group met with Lynton & Barnstaple Railway Trustee Ian Cowling to learn about how the railway works, its role in boosting the local economy, and its volunteers from the area and beyond.

The group was led by Yoshi Oyama, for many years Deputy Director of the Japan Centre, the University of Birmingham, and now with Groundwork Mishima, a leader in environmental and regeneration activities in Japan. The experts all work with rural communities, learning to make the most of their local resources in order to attract visitors back to that area of Japan.

Ian Cowling commented: "They were looking for new ideas that could specifically move on the tsunami affected communities and generally small-town rural Japan. They were especially looking at social enterprises.  That is essentially enterprises that bring together the social, cultural and heritage missions of non-profit organisations with the effectiveness and drive of conventional market-driven businesses.  Interestingly, the L&B does that, almost without knowing it!"

Ian added "We discussed the clear differences between UK and Japanese culture.  In Britain we have  a high regard for our heritage and history and try our utmost to preserve it where we can, whereas Japanese society is ordered from the top-down making it more difficult to organise the 'grass-roots groups' that proliferate in the UK."

During their 3 day visit to the North Devon they also met with North Devon Coast AONB, Devon Community Foundation and the Tarka Country Trust

Ian Cowling can be contacted on 01769 550266 / 07977 481771
Yoshi Oyama can be contacted on 07972 897 184


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