"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] Video Message by Prime Minister KISHIDA Fumio at the High School Students Summit on "World Tsunami Awareness Day"

[Date] October 19, 2022
[Source] Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet
[Notes] Provisional translation
[Full text]

Hello to all the high school representatives gathered here today. I am KISHIDA Fumio, the Prime Minister of Japan.

I am delighted to see students from all over the world participating in this High School Students Summit on "World Tsunami Awareness Day" 2022 in Niigata.

In the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011, during which a massive tsunami struck the coast of Japan, around 20,000 precious lives were lost. In this Niigata Prefecture, repeated large earthquakes in 1964, 2004 and 2007 caused extensive damage.

Japan has been charged with the important mission of using the lessons from these disasters.

I believe it is very significant that the Summit is held under the theme of "The Power for Reconstruction: Experiences and Lessons for the World."

In addition to earthquakes and tsunamis, Japan has been hit by a series of other large-scale natural disasters in recent years. Just this year in August, Niigata Prefecture experienced torrential rains.

In response to the disasters such as these, the Japanese government is accelerating its initiatives to prevent and reduce disasters and enhance national resilience in order to protect people's lives, livelihoods, and property.

"World Tsunami Awareness Day" is named after a true story in which many lives were saved from an enormous approaching tsunami by a single leader who set fire to his precious sheaves of rice to sound the alarm for the other villagers to evacuate.

I also heard that during the torrential rains that hit Niigata Prefecture in August, the experience of flooding 55 years ago prompted the head of a ward in Murakami City to call for the evacuation of residents to higher ground. As a result, he was able to save the lives of residents who would otherwise have perished in a mudslide.

Let me conclude with the hope that the legacy of this spirit will be felt by all of you, inspiring you to apply the deepened knowledge you gain at this Summit and make the most of the bonds you form here with one another to become active leaders in preventing disasters and building national resilience in the future.