Mayor Yutaka Sano of Hokuryu-cho, Hokkaido, farewell address, bouquet presentation, and applause

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

On Wednesday, February 21, the last day of his term of office, Mayor Yutaka Sano (age 72) gave his final retirement speech and presented a bouquet of flowers at 9:00 a.m. in the council chambers as all staff members looked on.

Mayor Yutaka Sano has fulfilled the duties of mayor for three terms of 12 years since his first election in February 2012.

Looking back on his 12 years as town mayor, he expressed his passionate thoughts to date in a matter-of-fact manner, while pinching his chest.

Greetings from Retirement

佐野豊 町長・退任のご挨拶
Yutaka Sano, Mayor, Retirement Message

He said, "Finally, I have just entered my 54 years of public service and my last day as mayor of the town.

Looking back, in February 2012, with the support of many people, including the citizens of Hokuryu Town, I have worked hard for three terms and 12 years since I became mayor, albeit with little effort, under the slogan of "making Hokuryu Town a town where the people play a leading role," aiming to make it a prosperous place to live.

We have also been making our utmost efforts to promote and develop our town, Hokuryu Town, through various projects such as the Minorichi-Hokuryu direct sales of agricultural and livestock products, the Cocowa commercial revitalization facility, the Wa Nursery School designed by Kengo Kuma, and various public facility renovation projects, and in soft projects, the sunflower oil revitalization project, various childcare support programs, enhancement of immigration and settlement policies, support for agricultural and commercial environmental projects, and others. We have been making our utmost efforts to promote and develop our town, Hokuryu Town.

In particular, in the area of agricultural promotion, we were awarded the "Japan Agricultural Award Grand Prize" for delivering safe, secure, and delicious rice, Sunflower Rice, and this brand of rice, Sunflower Rice, to consumers.

In addition, the Kuro Sengoku Business Cooperative was recognized as a "Discover the Treasures of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing Villages" and received the award at the Prime Minister Abe's official residence, who was the Prime Minister at the time.

And recently, the first-squeezed sunflower oil was certified as "Northern High Grade Food 2023". Also, "Ryujin," a junmai sake made with Hokuryu-machi rice comet, won the Grand Prix in the "Sake Made with Hokkaido Rice Award 2023. The mayor of the other town often said to me, "Hokuryu Town is great one after the other," which made my nose twitch.

As for hometown tax payments, for the ninth consecutive year, we have received donations from all over Japan in excess of 300 million yen. Incidentally, we just surpassed the 400 million yen mark yesterday. By the end of March this year, we expect to receive 440 million yen.

Hokuryu Town has received high praise and attention from all over the country for being a genuine agricultural town.

As the story goes, there are many good and nice names for town associations in Hokuryu Town. Hekisui is a name that evokes the azure blue of azure, a clear and pure stream. Kyoei means to prosper together. Mizuho is also a perfect name for Hokuryu-cho, which produces rice.
Wa means harmony or peace. I really feel that there are many really good community names in our town.

The environment surrounding our small town is currently very challenging. There is the problem of a declining population, the lack of local public transportation and transportation personnel to support local residents, and the Hokuryu Town Public Facility Reallocation Plan, which is now in the planning stages.

Fortunately, the new mayor has also made these commitments, and we hope that he will do his best to resolve the issues for the employees.

And over the past four years, I have held a number of important positions, including Vice President of the Hokkaido Town and Village Association and President of the Sorachi Town and Village Association. I have been away from the town hall on many occasions, and I apologize to the Vice Mayor and all the staff for the great inconvenience I have caused.

Lastly, I would like to express my deepest gratitude for your warm hospitality, and to thank you all for allowing me to fulfill my duties.
As a town resident, I will continue to fulfill my duties for the development of Hokuryu Town.

I would like to conclude my farewell address by wishing you all good health, success in your endeavors, and further development of the town of Hokuryu.

Thank you so much for all your help over the years!" he said.

After the greeting, the staff gathered in front of the entrance of the Hokuryu Town Joint Town Hall, where they were presented with a bouquet of flowers and sent off with applause before getting into their cars and leaving the town hall.

All the staff members gave a final send-off!
With heartfelt thanks to Mayor Sano for fulfilling his duty!
I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Mayor Yutaka Sano for his wonderful achievements during his 54 years as an employee of the Hokuryu Town Hall, including three terms of 12 years as Mayor of Hokuryu Town, during which he fulfilled his duties with all his heart and soul for the people of the town. Thank you very much!

Youtube Video

Mayor Yutaka Sano of Hokuryu-cho, Hokkaido, farewell address, bouquet presentation, and applause

Yutaka Sano, Mayor of Hokuryu Town, Hokkaido, Japan, Steps Down (full video)

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◇ Reporting and writing by Ikuko Terauchi (Photography and editorial assistance by Noboru Terauchi)

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