On behalf of the Hakuba Village Office, I would like to wish you all a Happy New Year.
As the New Year dawns, I hope it is a year filled with hopes and the promise of a brighter tomorrow for all of you. I express my most profound gratitude for your warm support and your daily understanding of the administrative management of Hakuba.
It has been a fine start to the winter season with a good early-season snowfall. I sincerely hope that the snowfall brings flocks and flocks of tourists to Hakuba from inside and outside of Japan throughout the season.
2017 was a fulfilling year. Hakuba was elected as one of the competition venues of the “National Sports Festival of Japan in Nagano” in February since the last time held 30 years ago. There were a total of 10,700 athletes, committee staff and audiences from all over Japan participated in the event. Without all the help, it would not have been possible for this event to be as successful as it was. I express my deepest gratitude for your support.
In April, along with the end of the four-year term of the village council, the village assembly election 2017was held. The elected twelve members would carry on working on the village development.
From July through September, the JR Shinshu Destination Campaign was held after seven years. Although the weather condition was unfavourable, we were glad that a lot of tourists paid their visit to Hakuba.
In August, Genta Fujimoto, from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC), was inaugurated as the Vice Mayor of Hakuba Village. Fujimoto has been dispatched to Hakuba through the human resources support for regional revitalization program for a two-year term work, responsible for planning and executing village revitalization projects.
In September, the village was awarded for the Hakuba High School Attractive Project. The project was funded by Furusato Tax and was elected as an exemplar of making practical use of the tax funding which is initially established for helping a healthy regional development. We truly appreciated all the support and help from the locals and Hakuba fans of preserving Hakuba High School from closing down.
In November, we took part in an interactive forum with the Hakuba fans in Tokyo. We were glad that we could have the chance to meet the outsiders to hear a lot of fresh and constructive ideas.
On November 22, 2017, it came to the third year since Kamishiro earthquake on November 22, 2014. To keep the memory of the worst disaster ever recorded in Hakuba from fading, we held a disaster prevention symposium with North Alps Regional Development Bureau and about 200 participants attended. The sharing of the victims taught us that it is blessed to be able to live peacefully and made us rethink about disaster prevention.
Look back at last year; it was a year full of remarkable moments.
Facing the problem of ageing and population decline, Hakuba is struggling with lack of human resources. At the annual ward’s meeting, committees have put a spotlight on the difficulties in keeping the community wards running due to the falling population. But on the other hand, with the help of inbound marketing, the number of foreign residents in Hakuba has been increasing. We would carry on paying our full effort in village development based on the 5th Master Plan.
We are living in a blessed place, with beautiful nature and the unique cultural environment built by our ancestors. The nature scenes in Hakuba charm people all over the world. While adapting to the new and diverse values, Hakuba has the ambition to preserve the one and only natural environment for the future generation.
Last but not the least, this year is an Olympic year. We felt thankful for the experience we had had in 1998 of hosting athletes and audiences from all around the world. It has brought significant influences in athletes training and boosted our inbound tourism. This year, the Watabe brothers, who were born in Hakuba, will be representing Japan to take part in PyeongChang Olympics. We would like to send our very best wishes ,and we ask for your support to them
In closing, we wish you and your family a prosperous 2018.
Mayor’s Greeting 2018
Hakuba Village Mayor