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Japanese Prime Minister Opens 24th Tokyo International Film Festival

By Liza Foreman TOKYO -


The rain stopped just in time for the celebrities to walk the green carpet, laid out for the opening of the 24th Tokyo International FilmFestival (October 22-30th) on Saturday.

TIFF chairman Tom Yoda welcomed guests, including Jackie Chan, whose 100th film“1911” kicked off events as the special opening film.

Highlights of the night included the cast of the “Fukushima Hula Girls,” participating as part of the national caravan for the reconstruction of the disaster stricken Fukushima Prefecture. Milla Jovovich, starring in the official opening film, “The Three Musketeers,” was also on the carpet. This year commemorates the 24th edition of the festival. The theme is, “Believe! The Power of Films,” based on the belief in the power offilms and the strength of Japan, and in hopes to contribute to the world and the rebuilding of Japan through Japanese films and culture. Yoda said that there was great deliberation over whether or not to go ahead with this year’s festival, due to the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11th.

“Yet, the strong belief in the universal power of films and the dreams and hopes that it gives led to the continuation of this event,” he said. He also mentioned the launch of the “TIFF Arigato Project” to extend gratitude to people around the world who gave encouragement and support to the festival and to aid the earthquake and tsunami affected areas innortheast Japan.

He also mentioned the continuation of the “Hop-Step-Jump”project initiated to strengthen information data systems and cultural interchange amongst nations, and to also spread news to the younger generation, via university student representatives from Tokyo. The opening ceremony was attended by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda. “Congratulations on the opening of the 24th Tokyo International Film Festival. As you all know, we had a terrible tragedy on March 11th, the Great East Japan Earthquake, yet we had so much warm support from all over the world. Amongst that, of course, we also had a lot of support from the film industry as well, which was led by Mr. Jackie Chan himself, and I, representing the government of Japan, wish to humbly thank him,” he said.

He claimed to be a great fan of Chan ever since he saw “Drunken Master.” Prime Minister Noda continued, “Films are truly wonderful and influential, and they also remain in the memories and minds of people.”

He said that he was influenced by “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” and the classic version of “TheThree Musketeers,” with one of his favorite actresses, June Allyson. He concluded, “I think that the significance of a film festival is that we can bemoved together and transcend borders. I hope that the 24th Tokyo International Film Festival will serve as a means to move and touch the people around the world.”Mr. Yukio Edano, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) added: “I would like to take this opportunity to say how happy I am that the rain has stopped, attracting a great number of people to come to the successful opening of the 24th Tokyo International Film Festival.

There are still many people suffering from the Great East Japan Earthquake, but despite this situation, we received a lot of cooperation and support from those involved in executing this Film Festival,and through this, we hope to convey courage and hope to the world that Japan isrecovering and moving forward step-by-step.” 

About Liza Foreman