Visit to Fukushima Prefecture
Friday, June 3, 2016
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Fukushima Prefecture.
The Prime Minister visited Onahama Fish Market in Iwaki City. Following that, he visited an intensive care nursing home located in Kawauchi Village, Futaba County, where he held an exchange of views with residents and employees.
Furthermore, the Prime Minister visited accommodation facilities in Katsurao Village, where he held an exchange of views with residents.
After his visit, the Prime Minister said,
“I first visited Onahama. There the fish market has been in use since last year. It has smoothly undergone the necessary testing procedures, and is providing an ever growing variety of seafood to households. The Government also intends to contribute to dispelling the reputational damage from radiation-related rumors related to seafood from Fukushima, which is safe and delicious. We will continue to offer our utmost support to ensure thorough understanding throughout the country for how delicious this food is and to ensure that it is fairly priced. I will use every opportunity to spread the word and communicate this point.
I was able to meet people in Kawauchi Village and Katsurao Village where evacuation orders were lifted recently. I was able to feel their strong desire to find any way they can to return to their hometowns and work hard there. I heard very encouraging comments, including the experience of a person who left his office job in Kanagawa Prefecture because he wanted to return home and start a café. He explained that he had resolved to do that after the disaster, and that now he has returned. Seeing everyone’s smiling faces, I felt that we must exert every effort so that people can live with peace of mind as soon as possible, so that we can revitalize regional industries and the bonds among families and among members of the region, and so that we can reconstruct a lively village here in Katsurao.
It has been five years since the disaster. I have instructed that evacuation orders be lifted by March of next year from all zones where they continue to be in place, despite not being zones where the return of residents would be difficult, and that efforts be undertaken to allow residents to return home as soon as possible. I intend to present the national Government’s thoughts on how we will reconstruct zones where the return of residents would be difficult by this summer. This will be a long-term process. The Government will stand on the front lines of this issue until the very end, when we achieve reconstruction. We will move forward with that conviction.
We will also show everyone how people here are giving all they have toward reconstruction so that the disaster is not forgotten. I think this is extremely important. I want the endeavors of the people of Tohoku to be widely known by the people inside and outside of Japan who are wishing for their success. I believe it is important that people continue to constantly support those in Tohoku in the future as well. Next Monday, we will hold a forum on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the disaster where I want to communicate just how the areas affected by the disaster have changed in the past five years.”
In addition, in response to questions from a journalist on criticism related to the postponement of the increase in the consumption tax, the Prime Minister said,
“As I said during the press conference on June 1, we will seek a popular mandate for this decision and will exert every effort to carefully earn the understanding of the people through the House of Councillors election. In the election, we will seek the understanding of the people, ask for their judgement, and have them decide the matter. I think this is a truly fundamental aspect of democracy. There has been a variety of criticism. I intend to sincerely consider that criticism and do my best for the election. Furthermore, I will continuously explain the issue so that we can gain the understanding of the people.”