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Private companies back kids’ idea for Eco Energy Festival

Date Posted: 2008-04-11

The dreams of children will soon be transformed into a real life Okinawa Eco Energy Festival, thanks to the unbridled support from three adults, a city, and about 50 individual companies.

Junior high school students first proposed the concept of a festival to be held on Kokusai Street at a conference last December. Their vision was to drive solar-powered cars and electronic cars on Kokusai Street, having both a race and a parade with the futuristic vehicles. Seeds of excitement were sowed during the conference, with Satoru Iizuka, a junior high school teacher, and Ryukyu University Professor Youichi Shimizu, endorsing their idea and promising to generate some public interest.

The festival concept had never been tried before, and with Naha City short of money, it was questionable whether the city would even grand permission for a parade. The children’s enthusiasm won over the doubting adults, and prompted Naha City’s Zero Emission Promotion Office director, Satoko Shimada, to jump in and say “I want to support the children.

Shimada, Iizuka and Shimazu pitched in, negotiating with individuals, institutions and facilities to obtain support. Students who sent letters to more than 50 private companies asking for support for both festival fund raising and technical issues have received resounding support. The kids are now making flyers and obtained posters from a special school, which they’ll create with help of volunteers.

The Okinawa Eco Energy Festival has been put on the city calendar for June 14th ~ 15th, on Kokusai Street. It will be open to the general public.

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