Just over one year ago, His Excellency Dr Khalid Bin Mohammed Al Attiyah, then Minister of State and now Qatari Foreign Minister, handed the ceremonial keys of a Qatari funded US$24 million fishery processing plant to the local fish buyers association. Designed to help rebuild the fishing sector in Onagawa, a small town on the Japanese east coast famous for its vibrant fishing industry: an industry that had been almost entirely devastated by the 3/11 Massive Tsunami. The plant was the first project in Japan to be completed as part of Qatar Friendship Fund (QFF), and the facility is now celebrating its first full year in operation with a nationally recognised design Award.
The Award is the culmination of an incredible year for Maskar that has seen the once famous Saury fishing industry making giant strides to return to its former glory. Thanks to Qatar Friendship Fund, the multi-functional fishery-processing centre is expected to eventually create employment for more than 3,000 local people and will have a market value and spillover effect of over 65 billion Japanese Yen. Maskar encompasses sorting, refrigeration and storage facilities and as the first project to be completed by QFF is seen as blueprint for future success.
Established in 1957, the Good Design Award is a comprehensive program for the evaluation and encouragement of design organized by the Japan Institute of Design Promotion (JDP). The Award is based on the belief that good design can help break the cycle of poverty, and it has been given to outstanding design for more than 50 years in the pursuit of more prosperous lives and industrial development. With rigid screening of the 3,400 entries received this year, the Award takes into consideration a number of elements, including usability and sustainability. A total of 794 companies and 1,212 designs were awarded in 2013, including 10 candidates for Good Design Grand Award, as well as candidates for the Good Design Best 100, the Good Design Gold Award, and other Special Awards.
Maskar includes sorting, refrigeration, and storage facilities. This state-of-the-art facility sets global benchmarks by virtue of cutting edge tsunami-proof technology and design. Its ingenious construction ensures that the building is able to withstand a level one tsunami. In addition, the use of renewable energy through solar power generation means that the centre is not only environmentally friendly, but also highly economical in the long-term.
Mr. Manabu Chiba, Judge for the Good Design Award, said: “The design of Maskar is simple yet powerful, the cross sectional construction will help to ward off tsunamis and is therefore very practical. The fact the fishery facility was built by the shore with the help of the Qatar Friendship Fund is of great comfort to the Onagawa area.”
The key message surrounding the project was recovery. Maskar can be seen from anywhere in the Onagawa area and will be considered as a symbol of recovery by many generations to come. Due to the timeliness of completion and the impact it has had on the local community, Maskar can confidently be considered as the blueprint for future Qatar Friendship Fund initiatives.
H.H. the Emir Father, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, announced Qatar Friendship Fund as a US$ 100 million gift to the Japanese people to assist relief efforts and accelerate the recovery of victims following the 11 March 2011 Great East Earthquake and Massive Tsunami. The Tsunami in particular was responsible for widespread destruction of the Japanese east coast fishery industry. One of the fundamentals of the Qatar Friendship Fund is to revive the fishery industry, one of the key economic drivers of the area and one so dramatically impacted in March 2011.