"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] Address by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda at the Ceremony to Commemorate the First Anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake

[Date] March 11, 2012
[Source] Prime Minister of JAPAN and His Cabinet
[Notes] Provisional Translation
[Full text]

Today, in the presence of Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress, on behalf of the Government of Japan I would like to offer a memorial address at this Ceremony to Commemorate the First Anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake.

One year has passed since the day the Great East Japan Earthquake struck, which claimed so many precious lives in the same fleeting moments and inflicted such extensive damage across wide areas of the nation.

When I think of the regrets of those who lost their lives and the profound grief of the bereaved relatives who have lost beloved family members, I am filled with tremendous sorrow. I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to those people. I would also like to express my sincere sympathies to all people who have been affected by the disaster, including the families of those people who still remain unaccounted for.

In order to ensure that the departed souls of those who lost their lives are duly respected and their wishes continue to be passed down to posterity, today, before those present, I make the three following pledges.

The first pledge I make is that the Government will work to accomplish reconstruction in the disaster-affected regions without delay.

Many people are still obliged to endure inconvenience and hardship in their daily lives. We will provide maximum assistance for measures in the disaster-affected regions to ensure that these people can carry on with rebuilding their lives, and that the hometowns in which they have been born and raised are reborn as safe and pleasant places to live.

The fight against the nuclear accident is continuing. We will make every effort to ensure that the rebirth of Fukushima is definitely achieved and beautiful hometowns are restored to their people.

The second pledge I make is to pass on to future generations the lessons of the disaster.

Living as we do in the Japanese archipelago, where natural disasters occur so frequently, it is our duty to pass on the lessons and knowledge we have gained from this disaster to future generations. Based on these lessons, we will proceed promptly with efforts to enhance countermeasures against natural disasters nationwide.

The third pledge I make is that we will never forget the spirit of "mutual assistance" and "appreciation" that links us all.

For reconstruction of the disaster-affected regions, the support of people outside these regions will continue to be indispensable, in the same way as it was in the immediate aftermath of the disaster. Furthermore, in order to repay the warm and kind assistance shown to us by other countries, we must exert every effort to make an active contribution to the international community.

Our forebears, who led our country to prosperity, stood up with brave resolution in times of crisis. While offering our support for the daily struggles of those people in the disaster-affected regions, we will join hands as we seek to fulfill our historic mission of "the rebirth of Japan through reconstruction."

In closing I would like to offer my prayers once again for the eternal and tranquil repose of the departed souls and my heartfelt wish that the bereaved families may find peace.

March 11, 2012

Yoshihiko Noda

Prime Minister of Japan