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Prime Minister Visits Fukushima Prefecture
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Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi made a two-day trip to Fukushima Prefecture, the birthplace of Dr. Hideyo Noguchi, from June 2 to June 3.
After arriving in Fukushima Prefecture on the evening of June 2, Prime Minister Koizumi visited Shimogo Town on the morning of June 3, where he observed the Ouchijuku, a historic quarter that once prospered as a post-station town on the Aizu West Road, now designated as an Important Preservation District for Groups of Historic Buildings.
In the afternoon, Prime Minister Koizumi visited Iimoriyama Hill in Aizu-Wakamatsu City and paid reverence at the tomb of the Byakkotai, who were a unit of young warriors. Prime Minister Koizumi also observed the Sazae-dou, a Buddhist temple famous for its spiral staircase, and the Cave of Tonokuchizeki, known as a place of escape for the Byakkotai, used in those days as part of an irrigation channel from Lake Inawashiro to the Aizu Valley.
Thereafter Prime Minister Koizumi visited the Hideyo Noguchi Memorial Hall in Inawashiro Town and observed the birth house of Dr. Noguchi, where at the age of one and half years he suffered a serious burn on his left hand from the open hearth that is still preserved today. Prime Minister Koizumi also touched on various episodes of the town that nurtured the internationally known doctor, including a letter written by his mother who worked devotedly in a poverty-stricken life to raise him.
Prime Minister Koizumi later observed Hanitsu Shrine, which is dedicated to Hoshina Masayuki, the founder of the Matsudaira Clan, the Shogunate lord of Aizu.
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