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Video Message from Mr. Yoshihiko Noda, Prime Minister of Japan on the Occasion of the "Japan Night" Opening Ceremony at the Annual Meeting of the New Champions (the "Summer Davos") in Dalian, China[Draft]

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cabinet Public Relations Office

  • Hello and a very good evening to all of you participating in "Japan Night." I am Yoshihiko Noda, Japan's new Prime Minister. On behalf of the hosts, I would like to extend my warm welcome to those of you joining in this event.

Gratitude for assistance with the earthquake and tsunami disaster

  • Half a year has passed since the fateful 3.11, when the Great East Japan Earthquake struck. First I would like to extend my thanks on behalf of the Government of Japan for the tremendous outpouring of cordial assistance that Japan has received from all around the world from immediately after the great earthquake and tsunami disaster struck right up until the present.

Appeal for the reconstruction of the Tohoku District

  • This earthquake, which at magnitude 9.0 was one of the largest ever in history anywhere in the world, was centered on the coastal region of the Tohoku District. The colossal tsunamis it spawned caused a massive amount of damage, with more than 20,000 people who perished or are still unaccounted for. While six months have passed since that day, for the families and relatives of the deceased, this is simply not enough time to ease their heartache.

  • Yet, the infrastructure and the economy of the tsunami-ravaged area has rebounded convincingly these last six months, with efforts towards reconstruction moving forward steadily.
    Epitomizing this is the fact that this summer, all around Tohoku, communities celebrated their summer festivals. By continuing to hold these festivals that their ancestors passed down for generations the people of the disaster-stricken areas welcomed home the souls of the victims, grieved for them, and renewed their will to bring about their own reconstruction. A great number of tourists from within and outside Japan also visited the region. The reconstruction of the Tohoku District will move into full swing from now.

  • I emphatically encourage all of you to visit Tohoku, to buy the products of Tohoku, and to attend international conferences in Tohoku. In this disaster-ravaged region which is now starting to recover, what the people there need is that kind of assistance. To people all around the world, I look forward to your kind consideration and cooperation towards Tohoku.

Overview of the safety and the appeal of Japan as a whole

  • The day to day circumstances of the areas other than those directly struck by the disaster, including the Tokyo Metropolitan region, have returned almost entirely to how they were before the quake. Tokyo Sky Tree, which already boasts the title of the highest-rising broadcast tower in the world, continued its climb to still greater heights even during the time of the earthquake and tsunami disaster, and it will begin operations next year as a symbol of the revitalization of Japan. And, while there are concerns about the impact of the strong yen, the Japanese economy is itself also recovering from the damage of the earthquake and tsunami disaster. While there had been fears of a breakdown of the supply chain in the manufacturing sector as a result of some factories suffering damage, Japan overcame this through our companies' tenacious efforts. Very tight electrical supply had also been a source of worry, but through energy conservation measures taken up by the entire nation we would like to tide over this summer without incident.

  • What has become apparent through this historic earthquake and tsunami disaster was, in fact, the great resilience of Japanese society and Japanese technology. Japan has from ancient times raised itself up robustly whenever it faced difficulties. From wartime devastation, we achieved spectacular economic growth; from the oil shock, we created the most energy efficient country in the world. I can only think that this catastrophic earthquake and tsunami disaster will also become momentum for us as we take on new challenges.

  • I have been appealing to the Japanese people that "now is the time to have great ambitions, to head abroad full of determination, resolve the problems that the countries of the world are facing, and contribute to humankind." Even after the earthquake and tsunami disaster, in Japan we have the will and the ability to contribute to the world.

The resilience of the Japanese people and Japanese society

  • I am sure you have heard the stories of disaster victims that took level-headed action even amidst the confusion after the earthquake and tsunamis. Have you heard the story of Mr. Mitsuru Sato, the executive director of the Sato Suisan fishery company in a town called Onagawa-cho? On March 11, upon seeing a tsunami bearing down on the coast, Mitsuru Sato first and foremost saw to it that the twenty Chinese who were trainees at his company evacuated to a safe location on higher ground. He had then gone back to search for his wife and child when the tsunami struck, killing him. I have heard that the spirit of mutual cooperation that he demonstrated in first saving, without discriminating, the trainees as victims of a disaster in a foreign land has been acclaimed in China as well.

  • No rioting of any kind occurred, even in the disaster-struck areas. Japanese have a noble spirit to help one another when difficulties arise. I suspect that this is not necessarily the case in many places around the world.

Appeal regarding Japan's international contributions through its technological prowess

  • Japan's technological capabilities related to the environment and energy, whether high-efficiency power generating technologies, residences and electrical appliances boasting high energy efficiency, or electric-powered vehicles, are at the very highest level found anywhere in the world. And this is true not only for major companies; there are also any number of small- and medium-sized enterprises having truly outstanding technologies.

  • After the earthquake and tsunami disaster as well, confidence in such technologies has not wavered at all. Despite such an enormous quake striking, the Tohoku Shinkansen bullet train came to a halt automatically afterward, with no reports of injuries. Restoration of the Tohoku Expressway also took less than a month. There is also a mechanism called the earthquake emergency warning system, and using this Japan has a system fully in place by which the public is notified of the possibility of aftershocks immediately before they occur. In particular now after this great quake has struck, there are an enormous number of items for which it can be said that the reliability of Japan's technologies and systems preparing for a great earthquake has been clearly demonstrated.

Allaying anxieties about the nuclear accident

  • There might also be some fears about the nuclear accident. Compared to the early stages of the accident,the amount of radioactive materials being emitted is now one ten-millionth of that amount. Decontamination measures taken up by the entire local community are now moving forward to address the problem of radioactive materials that have already been dispersed into the areas surrounding the nuclear plant. My Cabinet will be devoting its full efforts to bringing the nuclear accident completely under stable control, and by mobilizing the wisdom from the international community, the situation has thus far transitioned exactly in accordance with the envisioned schedule. The fact that nuclear reactors are located in areas where earthquakes occur is not something limited to Japan. Communicating our experiences in this situation is also a form of contribution to the international community that I feel Japan should shoulder.


  • Hand in hand with you, leaders across a vast spectrum of fields who have gathered here today from around the globe, I intend to enable the disaster-struck areas to recover while making Japan an even more marvelous country than ever before. I very much look forward to the ongoing support and cooperation of people from countries all around the world.

  • Sakura -the cherry tree- is a tree well loved by the Japanese people. I myself am extremely fond of sakura trees. Each spring, sakura cherry blossoms never fail to bloom, but in a little more than a week these blossoms will have all been scattered with the wind. Then after passing a cold winter, when spring arrives, their new blossoms never fail to appear once more. For that reason, a great many people consider the sakura cherry blossoms as helping them feel the passage of time, and as symbolizing "revival and revitalization."

  • Some of Japan's sakura trees boast being more than a thousand years old. A catastrophic disaster said to arise once every thousand years has occurred, and just like the sakura trees that have been through a thousand years of history, Japan and the Japanese will surely once again make gorgeous sakura blossoms come forth.

  • Let me close my remarks tonight by wishing all of you here a wonderful evening in which you feel decidedly these expectations for the future.

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