"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] 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~ Remarks by Mr. Koichiro Gemba, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan At the Fukushima Breakout Session

[Place] Fukushima City
[Date] July 4th, 2012
[Source] Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
[Full text]

Good morning.

I wholeheartedly welcome and thank you for gathering from all over the world. As introduced, Fukushima is my hometown. Yesterday, we held the plenary meeting of the "World Ministerial Conference on Disaster Reduction in Tohoku" in Sendai. We made a good start in our discussions toward mainstreaming disaster reduction, namely considering disaster reduction at all levels, and building resilient societies.

Fukushima suffered from complex disasters of triple difficulties: nuclear accident, tsunami and earthquake. As for nuclear energy, as I stated yesterday, the Government of Japan will hold the International Conference on Nuclear Safety in December here in Fukushima Prefecture with IAEA to have good discussions on it.

In addition to such complex disasters, new disaster risks are emerging due to, for example, the concentration of advanced industries and climate change. Cyclones and Hurricanes are bringing severer damage. Draughts in Africa is our concerns. Natural disasters with unprecedented level of damage are happening across the globe. How can we better respond to these emerging disaster risks? And how can we raise the capacity for comprehensive disaster reduction? These are the themes I would like to have deep discussions with you.

We have here Governor Sato of Fukushima, Mayor Seto of Fukushima City, Ms. Kaneko, Member of the House of Councilors, and many local people. I understand you made visit to the Fujitsu factory earlier today. Taking this opportunity, I pay deep respect to every person who is making concerted efforts for the reconstruction of Fukushima.

Fukushima suffered from unprecedented disaster in the history of humanity. Mr. Tanzan Ishibashi, one of the Japanese politicians whom I admire, send a message to the devastated Japan and its prostrated people after the Second World War, saying "Now is the time for the rebirth of Japan. The future path is truly promising." With the determination of "turning the table" or transforming challenges into opportunities, people of Fukushima are trying to make this land world-leading centers for renewable energy, medical service, or radioactive research institutes. With such a determination, people of Fukushima are trying to overcome this challenge and I hope that the participants from the world to be the witness to it.

I hope that this morning we will have deep discussion on how to overcome the serious challenges capitalizing on the wisdom of the world as well as the wisdom of Fukushima. With those words, I would like to conclude my remarks for welcome to you, request to you and gratitude to you. Thank you very much.