Prime Minister NODA's BLOG

Hello to all the Japanese people.  I am Yoshihiko Noda, appointed Prime Minister recently.  Taking a lesson from some of the prime ministers who preceded me, I have decided to launch this blog in order to convey to you, the public, the job performance of the Noda Cabinet.

The starting point of my political activities was making early morning speeches out in front of train stations, an activity which I continued every day, in the heat or in the cold, for the quarter-century since I became a Diet member.  I had recorded onto hand-written flyers a report of my activities for the week and a message and handed these out to the people in my electoral district.  [These I dubbed the "kawara edition"―kawara being the ceramic roof tiles used on so many Japanese homes―and now the Japanese version of this online blog is called the Kantei kawara-ban, the kawara edition from the Prime Minister's Office ]

Normally of course I would like to speak to you all face to face in front of the train station, but for now I will start with this format.  To be perfectly honest, I'm not confident about how often I will be able to write something for the blog, but I'd like to continue with this for as long as possible.

Since taking office on this past September 2, what has been the greatest priority for me more than anything else was visiting the areas that suffered damage in the great earthquake and tsunami disaster or during Typhoon #12 in person to confirm with my own eyes and ears what exactly they needed.  On the 8th I visited Fukushima, on the 9th Mie, Nara, and Wakayama, and on the 10th Miyagi and Iwate Prefectures.

In Fukushima, I took an inspection tour within the grounds of the TEPCO's Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Station. After changing into protective gear and donning a mask that covers one's entire face, it was hard to breathe, and the heat was also difficult to cope with. I delivered short remarks to Mr. Masao Yoshida, General Manager of the power station, the staff working under him at the emergency response room, and the workers shouldering the tasks on site, and then traveled around the perimeter of the reactor buildings by bus.  As for the outward appearance, looking close up at the collapsed building of Unit 3, which still retains the appearance it had when the hydrogen explosions occurred, I felt very keenly that this "battle" to bring the situation under stable control is still very much continuing even now.  The devoted efforts of the workers at the site are supporting this country.  With these feelings of appreciation, I encouraged the persons involved to the fullest extent of my power.

At a Central Meeting Hall and elementary school in the city of Date, where model operations are underway to decontaminate radioactive materials, I saw that the people of the local area are making a collective effort to decontaminate the areas they use in their daily lives.

With regard to the decontamination of radioactivity, at the Cabinet Meeting of the 9th, a budget of 220 billion yen was approved, making use of reserve funds. It has been decided that the 12 municipalities designated for evacuation will all have model operations set up.  I intend for the national government to continue to fulfill its responsibilities while working in cooperation with the heads of the local municipalities.

At the Fukushima Prefectural Office, I, together with relevant ministers and senior vice-ministers, held an exchange of views with Mr. Yuhei Sato, Governor of Fukushima Prefecture, and the mayors of municipalities within the prefecture.  I reiterated the stance of the Cabinet, that "Without the revival of Fukushima, there can be no revitalization of a vibrant Japan," and very helpfully, I received a variety of requests.  This was a very meaningful exchange of views.

On Friday the 9th, I viewed the state of damage in the three Nanki area prefectures of Mie, Nara, and Wakayama both from the road and from the air, via helicopter.  I felt very poignantly the depth of the traces of the damage from Typhoon 12 and the horror of the concentrated heavy rain and landslides.  I instructed that, with lifesaving as the foremost priority, all-out efforts are to be made towards emergency countermeasures for this disaster, including the relief and rescue of the victims, that it is imperative to strive to grasp the situation of damage in a rapid and accurate manner, and that efforts are to be made with a sense of urgency, in cooperation with the related prefectural offices and local authorities.  With regard to the "natural dam" that has appeared as a result of the landslides, there are locations at which it is possible that the dam might fail if precipitation were to fall from now and the water level were to rise.  I urge the local residents to pay careful attention to the information from the local authorities and to remain vigilant.

After that, I exchanged views with the heads of the relevant local authorities. Mr. Teramoto, mayor of the town of Nachikatsuura, was among those participating.  I was deeply impressed by his manner in leading the relief and rescue of the residents with all his strength even though his daughter, who was engaged to be married, lost her life in the disaster and his wife also remains unaccounted for.

On Saturday the 10th, I visited Iwate and Miyagi prefectures.  In the city of Rikuzentakata in Iwate, the decrepit state of the city hall, which had been wrecked by the tsunamis, was still visible, and I could see the destructive power of the tsunamis resulting from the great earthquake.  The fishing port of the city of Kesennuma, which was damaged by the tsumani, is once again landing fish and everywhere I could feel vitality towards reconstruction.  I have already stated on many occasions that "the critical issues for my Cabinet are recovery and reconstruction from the earthquake and tsunami disaster, including bringing the situation at the nuclear plant under stable control."  We must invest in the disaster-struck areas energy that goes beyond the destructive power of this tsunami.  In order for the national government to respond with a sense of speed, I have become even more determined to reflect this in the third supplementary budget as well as in the formulation of the fiscal 2012 budget, after listening carefully to the views and the requests of the local people.

It is truly unfortunate that recently there was a member of the Cabinet who resigned as a result of his inappropriate remarks and actions, which failed to consider the feelings of the disaster victims.  To restore the trust of the people, my Cabinet will fulfill its responsibilities, working together and pushing ahead vigorously towards resolving the nuclear accident and assisting the disaster victims.

This week, the extraordinary Diet session will begin, and on the 13th I will deliver my first policy speech to the Diet.  I ask the Japanese people for their cordial but stringent guidance and encouragement.

Yoshihiko Noda
Prime Minister of Japan
September 12, 2011

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