Address by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Ceremony to Commemorate the Second Anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake
Monday, March 11, 2013
Today, in the presence of Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress, on behalf of the Government of Japan I would like to offer a memorial address at this Ceremony to Commemorate the Second Anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake.
Two years have passed since the day the Great East Japan Earthquake struck, with a tremendous number of irreplaceable lives lost and unprecedented damage wrought to our nation, centered on the Tohoku district.
When I think of the regrets of those who lost their lives as a result of this earthquake and the profound grief of the bereaved relatives who have lost loved ones, I consider it truly a matter of extreme sorrow and I am filled with tremendous grief. I would like to express my heartfelt condolences once more to those people. I would also like to express my heartfelt sympathy to all those affected by the disaster, including the families of those people who remain unaccounted for even today.
In the disaster-stricken zones and other locations all around the country, many people are still living lives of great inconvenience. There are also a large number of people who are still unable to return to their hometowns even now because of the nuclear accident. Accelerating reconstruction as a way of responding to the people living industriously in the present must surely also be a way to repay the departed souls of the victims watching over us from heaven.
Today I pledge firmly that we will achieve reconstruction of the disaster areas and livelihood rehabilitation for disaster victims at as early a time as possible by investing all the energy we can muster and by considering the sensitivities of the disaster victims, while also moving forward on creating a nation with a high degree of resilience to disasters all throughout the country, in keeping with the lessons learned through this disaster.
In this earthquake disaster, the power of helping one another was demonstrated at a grand scale. This was of course true with the efforts of the local people and of relevant organizations, but it was also seen in the great many hands of assistance extended from every part of our nation. Japan also received a tremendous amount of cordial and encouraging assistance from various countries and regions around the world, from which we have dignitaries attending today. I would like to express our gratitude once again.
Our forbears overcame a myriad of challenges and each time, they arose even more robustly than before. We who live in the present day also pledge once more to follow that example, walking forward hand in hand.
I will close my remarks by offering my prayers once more for the eternal and tranquil repose of the departed souls and my heartfelt wish that the bereaved families may find peace.
Prime Minister of Japan
March 11, 2013