I am surprised and depressed to hear that Mr. Yasuhiro Inoue, Former Mayor of Dazaifu City, passed away suddenly on October 22. He served as Mayor of Dazaifu City for eight years—two consecutive four-year terms beginning in 2007. The Mayor was a kind of person who expresses his own feelings directly, acts honestly, and besides, carries out everything accurately. He accomplished many achievements for the sake of Dazaifu City including the development of Kyushu National Museum which opened in the city in 2005. In December 2008, the China–Japan–South Korea trilateral summit was held at the Museum under the leadership of the then Prime Minister of Japan, Taro Aso, and Dazaifu City became a special place in the pages of international politics. Visitors to the Museum have been increasing annually, and as of 2017, the number already reached 15 million people. It is highly praised as one of the most active museums in Japan and in East Asia as well.
Mr. Inoue also served as Chairman of the Japan Mayors Association on the Conservation of National Ruins from 2007 to 2015, and traveled around Japan to promote various activities of the Association. At the time of the Great East Japan Earthquake which occurred in March 2011, under Mr. Inoue’s leadership, Dazaifu City made special arrangements to provide its sister city, Tagajou City in Miyagi Prefecture, with economic support and cooperation to enable the city to restore the damages caused by earthquake and tsunami. I have heard that Tagajou City was very grateful to Dazaifu City.
Mr. Inoue and I endeavored to exchange views and information with each other primarily because we were two like-minded people who held the same stance politically and administratively. Therefore, it was a heart-breaking disappointment for me that we lost him so suddenly. Mr. Inoue ran for the third-term election of Mayor of Dazaifu City in 2015 but lost the election. We still regret that we missed the chance to win because of our carelessness at that time. It was an election from which I learned many lessons.
I pray from the bottom of my heart that his soul may rest in peace.