April 28(Thursday)

With determination to move forward and a spirit of mourning


The string of holidays known as Golden Week begins tomorrow.  For those who are planning to use this opportunity to go to the areas stricken by the earthquake disaster for volunteer activities, I strongly encourage you to head to these areas after thoroughly conducting your preparations and collecting information.


The Reconstruction Action Campaign, to be unfurled nationally today, supports the disaster-stricken areas from Japan as a whole by calling on people to refrain from excessive self-restraint and to take other actions.  The government is also among the supporters of these areas through this campaign and we will emphatically support these efforts.  In addition, the Reconstruction Design Council is scheduled to hold its third meeting the day after tomorrow.


In this way, even as recovery and reconstruction are beginning to move forward step by step, what always resurface in my mind are the victims of that day and their families.  I also think of the people who are desperately continuing their search for family members who remain unaccounted for even now.  It is certain that there are a very substantial number of people who since March 11 cannot easily reach a state of mind whereby they can begin to move forward.  I feel that very poignantly every time I visit the affected areas.


I understand that today, a great many temples all around the country rang "bells of prayers and hope" at 2:46 PM, the time at which the earthquake struck, as today is the 49th day since people fell victim to the disaster, an important memorial day for the deceased in Buddhism.  In the office, I too closed my eyes in remembrance of those victims, with a spirit of determination towards reconstruction.


From tomorrow, I will be engaged in Diet deliberations on the draft of the first supplementary budget for reconstruction.  I will devote my utmost efforts to bring about its enactment on May 2.

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