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Remembering March 11


Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda offers a flower at the Ceremony to Commemorate the First Anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda attended the Ceremony to Commemorate the First Anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake, held in Tokyo in the presence of Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan.

The ceremony was attended by the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Vice-President of the House of Councillors, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, former Prime Minister Naoto Kan, former Prime Ministers, bereaved family members, and others. Participants offered their heartfelt respects to the people who lost their lives in the massive earthquake and tsunami disaster.

Following the moment of silence, the Prime Minister said in his address:

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."

Japan-Thailand Summit Meeting

On March 7, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda held talks with Yingluck Shinawatra, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, at the Prime Minister's Office. After the meeting, both prime ministers released the Japan-Thailand Joint Statement on the Strategic Partnership based on the Enduring Bonds of Friendship. Pictured, Prime Minister Noda and Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra deliver their Joint Statement.

Japan-Mongolia Summit Meeting

On March 12, Prime Minister Noda held talks with Sukhbaatar Batbold, Prime Minister of Mongolia, at the Prime Minister's Office. After the meeting, the prime ministers released a statement on behalf of their respective governments and a Joint Announcement on the Initiation of Negotiations for Establishing the Mongolia-Japan Economics Partnership Agreement by the Mongolian and the Japanese Prime Ministers. Pictured, Prime Minister Noda and Mongolian Prime Minister Sukhbaatar Batbold shake hands.

Japan-Lao PRD Summit Meeting

On March 16, Prime Minister Noda held talks with Thongsing Thammavong, Prime Minister of the Lao People's Democratic Republic, at the Prime Minister's Office. Following the meeting, the prime ministers released a joint press statement about their discussions. Pictured, Prime Minister Noda talks with Laos' Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong about photographs of the disaster-stricken Tohoku region.

Japan-Timor-Leste Summit Meeting

On March 19, Prime Minister Noda held talks with Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao, Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, at the Prime Minister's Office. After the meeting, the prime ministers attended a signing ceremony for a project of ODA (official development assistance) loans. Pictured, Prime Minister Noda meets with Timor-Leste's Prime Minister Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao.