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Opening Remarks by Mr. Yoshihiko Noda, Prime Minister of Japan at the World Ministerial Conference on Disaster Reduction in Tohoku

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

World Ministerial Conference on Disaster Reduction in Tohoku
- Joint Endeavors for Solutions: Wisdom of the World to the Disaster-Affected Areas, Lessons of the Disaster-Affected Areas to the World -

Opening Remarks by Mr. Yoshihiko Noda, Prime Minister of Japan
Opening Ceremony
Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012, Sendai City


H.E. Miss Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations Development Program,
Distinguished representatives of Governments and international organizations,
Distinguished representatives of local governments of disaster-stricken Tohoku region,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am Yoshihiko Noda, Prime Minister of Japan.

Welcome to "Green Capital" Sendai, with beaming greens of early summer. I wholeheartedly welcome you gathering here from all corners of the world.

More than a year has passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11 of last year. Time will, however, never weaken our gratitude for the warm support and encouragement we received from the international community. On behalf of the people of Japan, I would like to thank you once again.

This international conference on disaster reduction, welcoming ministers from various countries to the area stricken by the Great East Japan Earthquake, has "special meanings" to us, the Japanese people who experienced that unprecedented disaster.

First, people in the area hit by the quake have made this Conference possible.

I invite you to directly feel the "disaster-affected region today" that takes robust steps for reconstruction and the energy of people who are making strenuous efforts towards the future.

Second, this Conference opens a great window for sharing knowledge and lessons learned from the largest disaster with the international community. Such efforts are a serious responsibility we owe to the humanity at large.

There are a variety of lessons for building resilient societies which can withstand natural hazards. We reaffirmed the importance of long-standing lessons such as "Escape to a higher ground."

While making the most use of scientific technologies in disaster reduction, we should hand down the caveats taught by old wisdom. In this way, we can respond to disaster risks in a wise and shrewd manner. With such an attitude, we need to actually utilize various knowledge and lessons learned in our society.

Third, this Conference provides an opportunity to reconfirm the will of Japan to continue our positive contributions to the international community including in the field of disaster reduction.

Working hard for reconstruction from the tremendous disaster does not mean that Japan becomes inward-looking and shuts away from the world. Japan will continue exploring a better way to contribute to the international community, not least in order to reciprocate to the support and encouragement we received from the world.

In order to facilitate the construction of resilient societies across the world, Japan will contribute three billion dollars in assistance for three years starting in 2013. Japan would like to be a host to the third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Reduction in 2015, utilizing the outcome of this Conference in Tohoku, as part of our continued contributions toward establishing a new international framework for disaster reduction.

This Conference aims at weaving the threads of the up-to-date lessons we learned from large-scale natural disasters. The steps for reconstruction of disaster-affected Tohoku sing the weaving song for us. It also provides us an opportunity to resolve to inherit these lessons long over generations and widely across the world. I wish a great success for this Conference with such special meanings. By thanking the efforts of those who rendered valuable support, I would like to conclude my opening remarks.

Thank you very much.

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