Skip to main content

Home >  News >  Speeches and Statements by the Prime Minister >  March 2018 >  Address by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Memorial Ceremony Marking the Seventh Anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake

Speeches and Statements by the Prime Minister

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

March 11, 2018

March 11, 2018
[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 Seventh Anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Seven years have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake, which caused unprecedented damage centered on northeast 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.

With the passage of seven years since the disaster, reconstruction in the affected areas is steadily proceeding, step by step. In the areas struck by the earthquake and tsunamis, the restoration of infrastructure closely connected to everyday life is nearly complete, while the rebuilding of homes is also expected to be 90 percent completed by this spring.

In the affected areas of Fukushima, which suffered great damage from the nuclear accident, evacuation orders are gradually being lifted, and even in zones that have been specified as difficult to return, preparations for setting up zones designated for reconstruction and recovery are already underway.

Nevertheless, even today, more than 70,000 people are still under evacuation, with some leading uncomfortable lives for a long time, reaching seven years. And, there are many for whom it is still unclear when they will return to their hometowns.

We will stay aware of the circumstances of each and every one of the affected individuals and continue to concentrate our efforts on enabling people to recover in spirit and on providing care for people both mentally and physically, in reflection of the long periods people have been living under evacuation, as well as on offering consultations to assist in rebuilding livelihoods and on forming new communities. We will devote ourselves to providing such assistance seamlessly in ways that meet people’s needs at various stages of livelihood rehabilitation. We will at the same time accelerate reconstruction through such means as preparing living environments and providing assistance for the revival of industries and livelihoods to facilitate people’s return to areas affected by the nuclear disaster.

Consequently, with the determination to take profoundly to heart the valuable lessons learned from the enormous suffering and 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 and through assistance received from every corner of the country. Warm support and assistance have poured in 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.

The battle against natural disasters is an issue held in common by all countries the world over. 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, which can all 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.

Shinzo Abe
Prime Minister of Japan
March 11, 2018

Page Top