WAGYU GOOD TIME: Sota Sato enjoyed his stay with grazier Leo Neill-Ballantine, which included a few jokes along the way.
WAGYU GOOD TIME: Sota Sato enjoyed his stay with grazier Leo Neill-Ballantine, which included a few jokes along the way. MARA PATTISON-SOWDEN

Student comes from Fukushima to learn how to rebuild

SOTA Sato came from the Fukushima-affected area of Japan to central Queensland to learn about the Australian beef industry.

His region had some of the best Iitate wagyu beef in the world, and now, four years after the nuclear disaster, he is here to learn how he might help rebuild the industry back home.

He said the houses were destroyed in his village: "Everything was ruined inside and outside."

But over the past week Sota has mustered cattle on Galloway Plains in Calliope, attended a Gracemere cattle sale and laughed at the chickens at Silverdale Eggs.

Cattle grazier Leo Neill-Ballantine introduced Sota to his brahman cattle.

"We've got great relationships with hosting students here," he said.

"When I went to boarding school it was one of the most multicultural places I've been to.

"They're having trouble and any interaction to build on those relationships is important."

Sota said Iitate wagyu was the most famous beef produced in his home town of Iitate village.

"If we can revive Iitate wagyu, I think almost all villagers feel reconstruction of Iitate village," he said.

Sota wants his village rebuilt. That, he says, will lead to revitalisation of the Fukushima region and the rest of Japan.

The 22-year-old Japanese student was in Gladstone as part of Meat and Livestock Australia's Together with Japan exchange program.



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