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Speeches and Statements by the Prime Minister

Address by the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the Memorial Ceremony Marking the Sixth Anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake

Saturday, March 11, 2017

[Provisional Translation]

In the gracious presence of Their Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess Akishino, 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 Sixth Anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Six years have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake, which caused unprecedented damage centered on north-east Japan and claimed many precious lives.

When I think of the despair of those who lost beloved members of their families and friends in the disaster, I am overwhelmed even now 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.

On each occasion that I visit the affected areas now, six years after the disaster, I feel that reconstruction is steadily making progress. Restoration of infrastructure is nearly complete, while the rebuilding of homes and the revitalization of industries and livelihoods are proceeding step by step.

Furthermore, the lifting of evacuation zones is gradually being implemented in Fukushima, prompting me to feel that reconstruction has reached a new stage. Nevertheless, even today, 120,000 people are still in evacuation, leading uncomfortable lives.

By being aware of the circumstances of each and every one of the affected individuals, we commit ourselves to such tasks as providing care for their minds and bodies, forming new local communities and supporting development that meets the needs of the affected areas, so that reconstruction can be further accelerated.

Consequently, with the determination to always take into consideration the valuable lessons learned from the enormous damage caused by the disaster, we will ceaselessly review disaster-prevention measures and integrate the latest wisdom and knowledge into our defenses. Once again, I would like to make a firm pledge here that the government will exert its united efforts to build a strong and resilient nation that is resistant to disasters.

Since the earthquake disaster, reconstruction has proceeded due to the tremendous support and efforts of the local people and numerous related parties. Warm support and assistance have poured in from every corner of Japan, and also from countries and regions around the world, many of whose representatives are present here today. I would like once again to express our sincere gratitude as well as our respect.

It is our responsibility to share with the rest of the world the lessons of the Great East Japan Earthquake, as well as our disaster prevention knowledge and technology that can be instrumental in minimizing future disasters. We will further strengthen our international contributions in the field of disaster prevention.

In the past, our nation suffered countless disasters that could be described as national crises, but overcame them each time with determination and hope. I vow once again that we will follow hand in hand in the footsteps of our forefathers and continue to move forward.

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, 2017
Shinzo Abe
Prime Minister of Japan

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