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Last Update : Friday, Mar 13, 2015

JapanGov Weekly

[Cabinet Secretariat] [Wednesday, Mar 11, 2015]

Address by the Prime Minister to the Memorial Ceremony Marking the Fourth Anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake

[Provisional Translation]

In the gracious presence of Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress, 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 Fourth Anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Four years have elapsed since the Great East Japan Earthquake, which claimed many precious lives and caused unprecedented damage to our homeland, centering on northeastern Japan.

Even today, when I think of the despair of those who lost their beloved family members and friends in this disaster, I am overwhelmed 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 loud noise of construction work ringing out every time I visit the affected areas, I can actually feel that reconstruction is under way. Steady progress can be seen in the construction of housing in upland areas and reconstruction is moving on to a new phase. Nevertheless, there are those who are unable to return to their homes as a result of the accident at the nuclear power plant and some 230,000 people still live uncomfortable and difficult lives. Even some of those who have started new lives are unable to adapt to their new environments. By being aware of the pain and sorrow of those affected by the disaster, and simultaneously providing health-care and moral support, we must accelerate the reconstruction process.

At the same time, with a determination not to discard the valuable lessons learned from this earthquake, we will proceed with building a strong nation that is resistant to disasters. In order to make the impact of future disasters as limited as possible, I would like to make a solid pledge here to make unified efforts to utilize the latest knowledge to provide comprehensive disaster prevention measures.

Reconstruction and restoration have been making progress, thanks to the efforts of local communities and regional institutions. Warm support and assistance have poured in from not only every corner of Japan, but from countries and regions around the world whose representatives are present today. I would like to express our sincere gratitude as well as our respect.

At the UN World Conference on Disaster Reduction, which will be held from this weekend in Sendai, we will lay out the current state of the reconstruction work in the disaster-hit areas, as well as the lessons that have been learned from the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. We hope that our experiences will be useful in future disaster-prevention efforts around the world. Moreover, by utilizing Japan’s knowledge and technology, we hope to further strengthen our international contribution in the area of disaster prevention.

The calamity that resulted from the earthquake has been an unprecedented national crisis. However, our forefathers overcame many difficulties and, each time, stood up much stronger. All of us must follow in their footsteps and I would like to make a pledge to continue to move forward, together, for the generations to come.

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, 2015
Shinzo Abe
Prime Minister of Japan

[Ministry of Foreign Affairs] [Wednesday, Mar 11, 2015]

Exchanges of Messages between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Presidents of Central American Countries on the Occasion of Japan-SICA Friendship Year

1. On March 10, Mr. Yasuhide Nakayama, State Minister for Foreign Affairs, received letters congratulating the Japan-SICA Friendship Year and the 80th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Central American Countries sent from Presidents of the Republic of Nicaragua, the Republic of Honduras, the Republic of El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, the Republic of Panama, the Republic of Costa Rica, and the Republic of Guatemala to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The letters were respectively handed from Ambassador of Nicaragua, H. E. Mr. Saul Arana, Ambassador of Honduras, H. E. Ms. Marlene Villela de Talbott, Ambassador of El Salvador, H. E. Ms. Martha Zelayandía, Ambassador of the Dominican Republic, H. E. Mr. Héctor Domínguez, Ambassador designate of Panama, Mr. Ritter Díaz, Charge d'Affaires ad interim of Costa Rica, Ms. Lilliam Rodríguez, and Charge d'Affaires ad interim of Guatemala, Mr. Cristobal Herrera. (A congratulatory message from The Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize, to Prime Minister Abe has been separately received).

2. Letters from Prime Minister Abe congratulating the Japan-SICA Friendship Year have been sent to Presidents of Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, and Dominican Republic as well as to the Prime Minister of Belize, which are member countries of the Central American Integration System (SICA).

3. Since the year 2015 marks the 80th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and several Central American countries, the year is set as the Japan-SICA Friendship Year and various commemorative events are scheduled to be held.

(Reference) SICA member countries and their leaders
Republic of Nicaragua : President Daniel Ortega Saavedra
Republic of Honduras : President Juan Orlando Hernandez
Republic of El Salvador : President Salvador Sánchez Ceren
Dominican Republic : President Danilo Medina Sánchez
Republic of Panama : President Juan Carlos Valera
Republic of Guatemala : President Otto Fernando Pérez Molina
Republic of Costa Rica : President Luis Guillermo Solis Rivera
Belize : Prime Minister Dean Barrow

[The Government of Japan] [Monday, Mar 9, 2015]

“We Are Tomodachi Disaster Prevention Edition 2015” is now available!

Featuring articles on Japan’s latest efforts for disaster risk reduction. Also introducing various stories and beautiful photos from Japan.