“There are some children in the disaster areas who will celebrate their third birthday tomorrow. These are the children who were born on the very day of the earthquake disaster.
The progress in the growth of this generation, who will be in their fourth year of elementary school six years from now, can also truly be regarded as our progress towards reconstruction.
In 2020, I would like to invite to the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games as many children as possible, including those in the disaster areas who will be in their fourth year of elementary school, who may properly be called ’symbols of reconstruction.’
I would like them to show people all throughout Japan, and people around the world, how they have grown. At the same time, I want the scenes of the world’s athletes giving a great showing to make a lasting imprint within their sparkling eyes.
Fifty years ago, watching the Tokyo Olympics left a profound impression on me, a fourth year elementary student at the time. I still remember it even now.
I very much hope to have the children who will carve out the future, both from the disaster areas and from around Japan, experience that profound inspiration for themselves.”
From Press Conference by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the Upcoming Third Anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake (Opening Statement), March 10, 2014