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The Prime Minister in Action

Visit to Iwate Prefecture

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Photograph of the Miyako City Daiichi Junior High School graduation ceremony

Photograph of the Miyako City Daiichi Junior High School graduation ceremony

  • Photograph of the Miyako City Daiichi Junior High School graduation ceremony
  • Photograph of the Prime Minister delivering an address at the graduation ceremony
  • Photograph of the Prime Minister delivering an address at the graduation ceremony (2)
  • Photograph of the Miyako City Daiichi Junior High School graduation ceremony (2)
  • Photograph of the Prime Minister visiting a site where the damages from the Great East Japan Earthquake have been preserved
  • Photograph of the Prime Minister watching a video of the tsunami at the site where the damages from the Great East Japan Earthquake have been preserved
  • Photograph of the Prime Minister visiting a site where the damages from the Great East Japan Earthquake have been preserved (2)
  • Photograph of the Prime Minister visiting Ryusen-do Cave
  • Photograph of the Prime Minister visiting Ryusen-do Cave

Photograph of the Prime Minister delivering an address at the graduation ceremony

Photograph of the Prime Minister delivering an address at the graduation ceremony

Photograph of the Prime Minister delivering an address at the graduation ceremony (2)

Photograph of the Prime Minister delivering an address at the graduation ceremony (2)

Photograph of the Miyako City Daiichi Junior High School graduation ceremony (2)

Photograph of the Miyako City Daiichi Junior High School graduation ceremony (2)

Photograph of the Prime Minister visiting a site where the damages from the Great East Japan Earthquake have been preserved

Photograph of the Prime Minister visiting a site where the damages from the Great East Japan Earthquake have been preserved

Photograph of the Prime Minister watching a video of the tsunami at the site where the damages from the Great East Japan Earthquake have been preserved

Photograph of the Prime Minister watching a video of the tsunami at the site where the damages from the Great East Japan Earthquake have been preserved

Photograph of the Prime Minister visiting a site where the damages from the Great East Japan Earthquake have been preserved (2)

Photograph of the Prime Minister visiting a site where the damages from the Great East Japan Earthquake have been preserved (2)

Photograph of the Prime Minister visiting Ryusen-do Cave

Photograph of the Prime Minister visiting Ryusen-do Cave

Photograph of the Prime Minister visiting Ryusen-do Cave

Photograph of the Prime Minister visiting Ryusen-do Cave

[Provisional Translation]

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Iwate Prefecture.

The Prime Minister attended the graduation ceremony at Miyako City Daiichi Junior High School in Miyako City, Iwate Prefecture and said in his address,

“Congratulations to all of the graduates. I also want to extend my sincere congratulations to all of their parents and guardians today. It is a great honor to be with all of you here on this special day.
How do you feel, everyone? Everyone looks so proud and full of confidence. Looking back on your time at Miyako City Daiichi Junior High School, I’m sure you all must be remembering your countless wonderful memories with nostalgia.
Six years ago, you experienced the Great East Japan Earthquake as third-graders in elementary school. For all of you it must have been a major event that cannot be expressed in words.
I imagine you faced many hardships—hardships then and hardships afterwards. However, you overcame them one by one, and today, here you are at this graduation ceremony.
You have reached this day thanks to the tremendous support you have received from your fathers, mothers, and other family members, and thanks to the passion of your teachers. I would like to again express my respect to the graduates as well as the many people who have supported you.
Last year, there continued to be major natural disasters, including the Kumamoto Earthquake and the Typhoon No. 10 disaster.
I have heard that at those times, you worked very hard in response to the respective disasters, including collecting donations in the aftermath of the Kumamoto Earthquake and helping clear away mud from damaged houses and sidewalks in the wake of the Typhoon No. 10 disaster.
I am deeply moved by your actions to help other people based on your own disaster experience. With your support, the respective affected areas are also steadily advancing towards reconstruction.
You will now be leaving the nest—this place of learning—and embarking on your respective paths.
‘Our eyes shine bright with an aspiration to further develop our hometown by respecting old aspects while incorporating new elements.’
As is enshrined in your important school anthem, I am confident that each of your hopes and dreams will lead towards the reconstruction of Miyako, Iwate, and Tohoku, as well as the development of Japan.
I would like to close my remarks by expressing best wishes for your promising futures as you depart from this school today. Congratulations on your graduation.”

Later, the Prime Minister visited a site where the damages from the Great East Japan Earthquake have been preserved, which was followed by a visit to Ryusen-do Cave in Iwaizumi Town.

After the visits, the Prime Minister said,

“Today is my first time in Iwaizumi Town in approximately half a year. The beautiful Ryusen-do Cave that was restored from the damages it sustained in the typhoon will finally resume operations. Visits to this place by many people will help to revitalize and energize the region and Tohoku as a whole. I highly encourage everyone to come visit the beautiful Ryusen-do Cave.
I also visited a site where the damages from the Great East Japan Earthquake have been preserved. We must never forget that earthquake, or the tsunami. I once again visited this site and viewed a video inside. It reaffirmed just how frightening and terrifying the earthquake and tsunami were. With the will of never forgetting the disaster, the Government will make use of the lessons learned and work to reduce disaster risks.
It has now been six years since the Great East Japan Earthquake. Many people lost their families, friends, workplaces, and schools in that disaster. The past six years have been extremely difficult for everyone affected. I think this is true for children in particular, who experienced that tragedy, and then a hard life followed. Today I attended the graduation ceremony at Miyako City Daiichi Junior High School under these circumstances. Children who were still in elementary school six years ago are graduating from junior high school. I feel tremendous promise and joy at seeing your smiling faces and dignified manner. Children and young people are the hope of reconstruction in Tohoku. The Government will do everything in its power to foster such human resources.
There can be no revitalization of Japan without the reconstruction of Tohoku. This is the basic policy of the Abe administration. Based on the concept of doing everything that can be done, we will work to further accelerate reconstruction.”

In response to a question about zones where the return of residents would be difficult and reconstruction in surrounding areas, the Prime Minister said,

“First, I believe that the lifting of evacuation orders is the first step towards full-fledged reconstruction. Above all, even if people are able to return home, the basis of their livelihoods must be restored. We must continue to make efforts towards the reconstruction of residences and the revitalization of ‘nariwai,’ or occupations and livelihoods that sustain people’s daily lives. We will undertake meticulous responses to that end.
In addition, in regard to zones where the return of residents would be difficult, we will take steps to lift all evacuation orders even if it takes a long time, for all of the zones where the return of residents would be difficult, no matter how long it takes. First, we will proceed steadily step by step, starting from the reconstruction hubs. We will aim for the earliest possible reconstruction. Specifically, first we will set up reconstruction hubs while listening to the wishes of local communities, and then we will carry out decontamination work, infrastructure development, and other activities methodically and efficiently to establish and improve living environments and workplaces. Within about five years we will lift evacuation orders and take measures to realize the return of residents and the establishment of new areas for offices.
Fukushima experienced not only an earthquake disaster but also a nuclear disaster. For that reason, there can be no reconstruction of Tohoku without the reconstruction of Fukushima. The Government will exert every effort at the forefront based on the idea that there can be no revitalization of Japan without the reconstruction of Tohoku.”

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