Visit to Miyagi Prefecture
Saturday, July 11, 2015
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Miyagi Prefecture to gauge the progress of the reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake.
First, in Natori City, the Prime Minister visited the Yuriage Memorial, where he offered flowers and a silent bow, before visiting the public housing for disaster-stricken households and emergency temporary housing in the Shimomasuda area. Following that, the Prime Minister visited a food complex featuring restaurants, bakeries, and shops selling popular regional products.
In the afternoon, the Prime Minister visited Minamisanriku Sun Sun Shopping Village in Minamisanriku Town, the JA Minamisanriku head store and Shizugawa branch store, and the Shizugawa Public Hospital Minamisanriku clinic in the Shizugawa Higashi area.
Afterwards, at Minamisanriku Town Hall, the Prime Minister held an exchange of opinions with experts, NPOs, and residents about initiatives for mental and physical health care.
After his visit, the Prime Minister said,
“I visited Minamisanriku two times before becoming Prime Minister and this is my second visit since becoming Prime Minister, making this my fourth visit in total. It has been over two years since my last visit, and it is now four years and four months since the disaster. The smiling faces of everyone I have been reunited with on this visit made a significant impression on me. I would like to work harder to accelerate reconstruction so that we can increase the number of smiling faces even further.
Here in Minamisanriku, many temporary shopping areas and clinics are at long last being remade into true business centers and hospitals. In Natori City, a new initiative is underway to employ people with disabilities and those affected by the disaster to support agriculture. I have heard that this new initiative is receiving great praise. Furthermore, I recently heard about what kinds of initiatives are being put in place for people suffering from disuse syndrome. We can utilize the knowledge and experience of the elderly to bring the elderly happiness. Of course, it would be ideal if disasters did not happen, but if one does occur again, I would hope to make good use of such knowledge. We will make use of many kinds of knowledge. I have high expectations for the spread of these kinds of initiatives.
I was able to experience many different initiatives like this. To support such initiatives, I would like to instruct Minister for Reconstruction Takeshita to ensure that the new grant system can be used in these regions.”
Additionally, in response to a question on legislation related to security, the Prime Minister said,
“Yesterday the counterproposal came under deliberation for the first time since it was submitted. This is only the first day since the counterproposal was made, but I believe there has been considerable discussion through a comparison of both bills, as the countermeasure was submitted after over 90 hours of deliberation had built up, during which various arguments had been put in order. In any case, with a counterproposal having been submitted, I want to advance thorough discussion. Moreover, when will a vote be taken? I would like for that to be up to the judgment of committee members. In any case, I think they will make a decision when the time comes to make a decision.”