"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 KISHIDA Fumio to the 2024 Memorial Ceremony for the Great East Japan Earthquake

[Date] March 11, 2024
[Source] Cabinet Public Affairs Office, Cabinet Secretariat
[Notes] Provisional translation
[Full text]

Here today, I offer with great humility my commemorative address on behalf of the Government at the 2024 Memorial Ceremony for the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Thirteen years have now passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake struck.

Here in Fukushima, among other places, many irreplaceable lives were lost, and some people remain unaccounted for even today. The colossal earthquake and tsunamis, and also the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station of Tokyo Electric Power Company, deprived many Fukushima Prefecture residents of their day-to-day lives.

My heart aches in empathy and overflows with sorrow and condolences for those who have lost beloved family members, relatives, and friends. Today I offer my deepest and sincerest commiserations once again.

In addition, because of the nuclear accident, many people are forced to live their lives as evacuees even now. I express once more my most profound sympathies to all those affected by the catastrophe, including those unable to return to their hometowns.

In the 13 years since the earthquake wreaked its devastation, reconstruction has progressed steadily in the earthquake- and tsunami-stricken areas.

Even in the areas of Fukushima affected by the nuclear disaster, in the areas where evacuation orders have been lifted, progress is being made in improving the living environment and revitalizing and bolstering industries and regenerating means of livelihood. In the difficult-to-return-to zones as well, evacuation orders were lifted for all Specified Reconstruction and Revitalization Bases by last November. In addition, based on the Specified Living Areas for Returnees system established during the current fiscal year, reconstruction efforts have been forging steadily ahead, such as the authorization of the Reconstruction and Revitalization Plans for the Specified Living Areas for Returnees for the towns of Okuma, Futaba, Namie, and Tomioka by this past February.

It should go without saying that this is the result of the tireless efforts and support of the local residents and also all those affiliated with the agencies and organizations involved, including Fukushima Prefecture and its municipalities.

Medium- to long-term support will be critical for reconstruction from the nuclear disaster. The Government will continue to stand at the fore, pressing ahead with the safe and steady decommissioning of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station of Tokyo Electric Power Company, on which reconstruction is premised, and with assistance to improve the living environment and restore and bolster industries and livelihoods to accelerate the return of residents. The Fukushima Institute for Research, Education and Innovation (F-REI), which aims to be a core base for creative reconstruction, was founded last April and is now moving steadily towards that goal. We will continue to strive to the best of our ability to achieve the full-scale reconstruction and revitalization of Fukushima and the reconstruction of the Tohoku region.

Although our nation has countless times experienced disasters that could be called national crises, by working together, we have succeeded in overcoming every one. In response to the Noto Peninsula Earthquake that struck in January this year, people here in Fukushima have also warmly provided their encouraging support, grounded in their experiences and knowledge gained from the Great East Japan Earthquake.

We have learned invaluable lessons at the grave costs imposed by the earthquake. I pledge firmly once more that the Government, never allowing those lessons to fade, will move forward in creating a nation with a high degree of resilience to disasters, utilizing those lessons as we respond to natural disasters, including the Noto Peninsula Earthquake.

I would like to conclude my address by offering earnest and heartfelt prayers that the souls of all those who passed away repose in eternal peace, and that all the bereaved families be embraced with peace and tranquility.

March 11, 2024


Prime Minister