The company charged with cleaning up the devastated Fukushima nuclear site in Japan has taken a fact-finding trip to Copeland.

Yoshiyuki Ishizaki, from the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), visited the area last week to look at how the nuclear industry and the surrounding communities engage with one another.

And as an ambassador for martial arts, Mr Ishizaki took time out to attend a karate event with local club ESKK Martial Arts and Fitness Club at Whitehaven Civic Hall. He also visited The Beacon museum in Whitehaven.

"Ensuring openness and multi-way communication in a continuous manner is essential for restoring trust from the local community," said Mr Ishizaki, vice-president of TEPCO's revitalisation project, which aims to encourage people to move back into the area surrounding Fukushima, once it becomes safe following the tsunami five years ago.

"I will put this lesson into practice for local community development back in Fukushima. The Cumbria/TEPCO dialogue will help pave the way for TEPCO's revitalisation activities."

Mr Ishizaki addressed a meeting of the West Cumbria Site Stakeholders Group (WSSG), which scrutinises the nuclear industry locally.

David Moore, chair of the WSSG, said: "We were delighted to welcome representatives from TEPCO to show them how we, as a community, hold the nuclear industry to account and apply scrutiny in an open, public forum.

"Mr Ishizaki gave a very interesting presentation and, having been to Japan myself in recent years, it was fascinating to hear how they are progressing both with the recovery operation and community engagement."

And following Mr Ishizaki's participation in its karate exchange, Peter Hinde, from ESKK in Whitehaven, said: "I think the group was very impressed with the fact that we had visited Japan a number of times and had trained with karate masters.

"The visitors seemed to enjoy the evening with us and I am sure the cultural exchange was extremely beneficial to our members and Mr Ishizaki."