Address by the Prime Minister to the Memorial Ceremony Marking the Fourth Anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
In the gracious presence of Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress, it is with the deepest respect that I, representing the Government of Japan, express my condolences on the occasion of the Memorial Ceremony marking the Fourth Anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake.
Four years have elapsed since the Great East Japan Earthquake, which claimed many precious lives and caused unprecedented damage to our homeland, centering on northeastern Japan.
Even today, when I think of the despair of those who lost their beloved family members and friends in this disaster, I am overwhelmed with deep sorrow. It is with my deepest sympathy that I reiterate my sincerest condolences. I would also like to extend my heartfelt sympathies to all those who have been affected by the disaster.
With the loud noise of construction work ringing out every time I visit the affected areas, I can actually feel that reconstruction is under way. Steady progress can be seen in the construction of housing in upland areas and reconstruction is moving on to a new phase. Nevertheless, some 230,000 people still live uncomfortable and difficult lives, including those who are unable to return to their homes as a result of the accident at the nuclear power plant. Even some of those who have started new lives are unable to adapt to their new environments. We will accelerate the reconstruction process even further, all the while staying keenly aware of the pain and sorrow and the needs of those affected by the disaster, including in terms of health care, livelihood support, and psychological care.
At the same time, with a determination not to discard the valuable lessons learned from this earthquake, we will proceed with building a strong nation that is resistant to disasters. In order to make the impact of future disasters as limited as possible, I would like to make a solid pledge here to make unified efforts to utilize the latest knowledge to provide comprehensive disaster prevention measures.
Reconstruction and restoration have been making progress, thanks to the efforts of local communities and regional institutions. Warm support and assistance have poured in from not only every corner of Japan, but from countries and regions around the world whose representatives are present today. I would like to express our sincere gratitude as well as our respect.
At the UN World Conference on Disaster Reduction, which will be held from this weekend in Sendai, we will lay out the current state of the reconstruction work in the disaster-hit areas, as well as the lessons that have been learned from the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. We hope that our experiences will be useful in future disaster-prevention efforts around the world. Moreover, by utilizing Japan’s knowledge and technology, we hope to further strengthen our international contribution in the area of disaster prevention.
The calamity that resulted from the earthquake has been an unprecedented national crisis. However, our forefathers overcame many difficulties and, each time, stood up much stronger. All of us must follow in their footsteps and I would like to make a pledge to continue to move forward, together, for the generations to come.
In concluding, I would like to offer my heartfelt prayers for the eternal repose of the souls of those who lost their lives and I pray for the peace and tranquility of their bereaved family members.
March 11, 2015
Prime Minister of Japan
(This text is partially differ from the simultaneous translation provided during the address)