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Speeches and Statements by the Prime Minister

Message by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on the Occasion of the Fukushima Conference 2011

Friday, November 11, 2011

[Provisional Translation]


Without the revival of Fukushima Prefecture there will be no restoration of trust and confidence in Japan. In reviving the prefecture it is vital that we hear the opinion of a large number of Fukushima residents, share a universal understanding of the current situation in the prefecture, discuss about its future, and make the voices of Fukushima heard across Japan and throughout the world. I fully support "the Fukushima Conference 2011" as a forum that facilitates these objectives. I would also like to express my deep respect for the arduous efforts of related people in working towards realizing this Conference.

My heart breaks when I imagine how people feel who were born and raised in Fukushima but are not able to return to their hometowns because of the nuclear power station accident. If I cannot help the people facing such trying circumstances, I will have failed to carry out my duty as a politician and as the Prime Minister.

Above all things, swiftly bringing the nuclear power station accident to a conclusion is my administration's top priority. We will work to ensure that the discharge of radioactive materials is controlled and radiation levels are significantly reduced - a so-called cold shutdown - by the earliest stage possible.

We must also work to decontaminate areas where radiation has already spread. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has recognized Japan's basic direction for decontamination operations, and we will continue concerted Government efforts to develop a structure for addressing this issue, taking responsibility for properly assessing the actual situation and carrying out large-scale decontamination operations, and working to relieve the concerns of surrounding residents and the entire nation as quickly as possible.

Recently, on a visit to a kindergarten in Fukushima Prefecture, one of the kindergarten's children said to me, "Please fix things so that we can play outside again soon." The words of this child moved my heart. It is natural for growing children to want to play outdoors. The Government will exert every effort to answer this exactly natural wish of Fukushima residents to return to their normal lives. I will be participating in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Honolulu, Hawaii later this week, and I intend to ensure to convey the voices of Fukushima Prefecture to the world. The world must not forget about Fukushima. Conveying the voices of as many Fukushima residents as possible to the world, and sharing the experience of Fukushima with the world, will be tremendously important in ensuring the reconstruction of the prefecture as well as the revival of Japan. It is also Japan's responsibility to the world.


Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda

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