Visit to Fukushima Prefecture
Saturday, December 10, 2016
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Fukushima Prefecture.
After attending the opening ceremony for JR Shinchi Station in Shinchi Town, Soma District, Fukushima Prefecture, the Prime Minister held a meeting with people working in robotics and others in Minamisoma City.
Later, the Prime Minister visited a strawberry sorting center and farm in Iitate Village, Soma District. Afterwards, he visited a natto production plant in Kawamata Town, Date District.
After the visit, the Prime Minister said,
“Today, I visited Shinchi Town for the first time in a long time. I attended the ceremony for the reopening of service between Hamayoshida Station and Soma Station. Moving the tracks and station buildings inland entailed very difficult construction, and was made possible by everyone’s hard work. At last, the railway has been connected to Sendai. There were many smiling elderly men and women at the event, but the local high schoolers and children were particularly happy about it. I was filled with the feeling that a new light of hope has truly been lit here. I want the Joban Line to be connected to Tokyo by the time of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. I want to communicate to the world how this area is being reconstructed with vigor.
In Minamisoma City, I spoked with businesspeople who are advancing reconstruction mainly through robotics. In Iitate Village, I spoke with people growing strawberries, and I had some delicious strawberries myself. Here in Kawamata Town, I spoke with managers and employees filled with the ambition to help reconstruction through the use of local beans and natto. I once again felt how the thoughts and passion people have for their hometowns are truly the energy for reconstruction.
I want the Government as well to thoroughly support reconstruction. On March 31 of next year, evacuation orders will be lifted for Iitate Village and Kawamata Town. I want to further thoroughly support the reconstruction of homes and employment. I would like the Government to work on the front line for reconstruction of the zones where the return of residents would be difficult. A Cabinet decision will be made on a basic policy to that end within this month.
We will continue to do everything that can be done. I want to exert every effort to accelerate reconstruction further.”
In addition, in response to a question about negotiations related to the Northern Territories issue, the Prime Minister said,
“This is, unfortunately, a difficult issue that has not been resolved over a period of 70 years. I want to exert every effort to advance negotiations steadily, one step at a time.”