TOPICS July 2022

Outdoor Pool at Aqua-Palette to Open

 Matsuyama city announced that the outdoor pool at Aqua-Palette, the municipal pool, opened from June 18 to September 11 this summer, although the number of people allowed to use it at one time is limited to a total of 750 people for both the indoor and the outdoor pools. It was completely closed in the summer of 2020, and operated in three shifts in the summer of 2021 due to the pandemic.

Usage time is restricted to two hours. Reservations cannot be accepted. The water slide and kiosk are open, with infection prevention measures, for the first time in three years. Elementary students who hold a bicycle license issued by Matsuyama city can have two hours-free use of Aqua-Palette on Monday through Friday.

(June 13, Ehime Shimbun Online)

Additional Information (Aqua Palette Matsuyama):

Open Hours: 9:00-21:00 (The admission time is until 20:00.)

Closed: Every Monday (excluding summer business days and public holidays)

The Year-End and New Year holidays (December 29-January 3)

*The summer business period (2022) is from June 18, Saturday to September 11, Sunday.

 Outdoor pool zone is available only for the summer business period.

 Indoor pool zone is available for business days above.

Aqua Palette Matsuyama website (available only in Japanese):

More People Moving to Ehime in 2021

Ehime prefecture announced that the number of people moving into Ehime in 2021 was 4,910, twice as many as in 2020, 2,460. It is the most recorded since 2007 when they started taking data.

1,938 people migrated to Matsuyama in 2021, 1,212 more than in 2020. 566 are from Tokyo, 551 are from Osaka, and 307 are from Hyogo. 43.5% of the people who migrated to Ehime in 2021 were from eight prefectures around Tokyo and Osaka. 1,779 were in their 20’s, 899 in their 30’s and those under 10 were 667.

The number of consultations for relocation has also increased to 5,166, which replaced the past highest record, 4,129 in 2019.

Governor Nakamura said that he felt that barriers to moving to rural areas have become less due to a change in the sense of values in life because of the pandemic and improvements in information technology. The target is to welcome 8,000 people to Ehime every year, since the population in Ehime is decreasing by 10,000 every year.

(June 8, Ehime Shimbun Online)

Ehime University To Open a New Graduate School In April 2023

Ehime University applied to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology to establish a graduate school for regional resilience learning (master’s program). The aim of the new school is to train people who can contribute to sustainable regional development amid drastic changes such as the declining population, rapid aging and increasing natural disasters. The April 2023 opening is expected to be officially decided in the summer if the planning proceeds smoothly.

The university has been planning to train people with resilience and flexibility who can lead the region to survive challenges which could accelerate the declining birthrate and lead to regional decline, such as climate change and the expected Nankai earthquake.

(June 6, Ehime Shimbun Online)

Ukrainian Visits Matsuyama

On June 3, a Ukrainian woman and her Japanese sponsor
gave a talk in Matsuyama. Olga, aged 34, evacuated from the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, to Fukushima Prefecture due to the Russian invasion.

She showed a photo, taken from her room in Kyiv, of flying rocket bombs. “On February 24, I opened my window and I had no idea what was happening. On TV I knew the war had begun.” In March, her workplace was destroyed by a Russian missile attack. She spent days in the basement at every bombing and decided to evacuate abroad. When heading to Poland by express train, they couldn’t use any electricity including smartphones so that it wouldn’t be an attack target. The train she was on was not attacked, but a later train was.

After going to an evacuation center in Poland and a friend’s house in Germany, she came to Japan, prompted by her experience of learning kendo. She was interested in Japanese culture and history. She said, “I would like to thank the Japanese people for their concern about Ukraine and for their support.”

Mr. Kimura, her sponsor, is a radiation hygienist at Dokkyo Medical University from Kihoku-cho, southwestern Ehime. He founded the “Ukraine Refugee Humanitarian Aid Fund Fukushima Camp,” to support the refugees. He talked about working with Ukrainian people when he investigated the impact of the Chernobyl nuclear accident. He said, “Ehime was once supported by the world after the torrential rain in western Japan, so we can sympathize with the Ukrainian refugees to some extent. I would like you to imagine how you would feel if you were in the same position.”

The talk was planned by the “Fukushima Camp Support Ehime,” which raises funds to support the efforts of Mr. Kimura and others. The account name of the fund is Ukraine Refugee Fukushima Camp, savings account #4839047, at the Iyo Bank Head Office.

(June 4. Ehime Shimbun)

Ehime Marathon to Be Held for the First Time Since 2020

The 60th Ehime Marathon is scheduled for February 12, 2023, after being suspended since 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The race will be held under the following conditions: First, that there are no declarations of emergency or priority preventive measures against Covid-19 within the month before the race; second, that there are no prevention measures against Covid-19 within the prefecture; and third, that hospitals and medical institutes are not overwhelmed by coronavirus patients. The Covid-19 prevention guidelines for participants will be announced on the Ehime Marathon’s website around the middle of July.

The number of participants is limited to 10,000 and the entry fee is 12,100 yen (including tax). General entry will be from August 1 to 14, and the lottery results will be announced after early September.

Ehime Marathon official website:

(June 3, Ehime Shimbun Online)

Preserving the Russian Soldiers’ Graveyard in Matsuyama

There is a cemetery in Matsuyama, where Russian soldiers, who were prisoners in the Russo-Japanese War (1904-05), sleep quietly. They died with an unrequited hope that they would return to their homeland.

On the morning of May 19, nine people of the “Thursday Group” came to clean the cemetery. They gather every Thursday of odd-numbered weeks. They are members of the Russian Graveyard Preservation Society made up of local residents. The fallen leaves were carefully swept up and the trees planted there were pruned, ending up filling five garbage bags. They offered incense beside pink carnations which had already been left at each tombstone. “Students of Katsuyama Junior High School must have offered them the last time they cleaned.” The Society was established to support the junior high school students who have been tending the cemetery for nearly 40 years.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine started, they ask the soldiers resting there “What is President Putin thinking?” “We think all the Russian soldiers here must be angry.”

In the cemetery, there are also tombstones of American soldiers and German soldiers, as well as those from present-day Ukraine, Poland, and Belarus. There has been no disturbance against the activities of the society since the invasion.

(May 23, Ehime Shimbun)

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