June 17(Friday)

"No. 21 [Visit] A Series of Town Hall Meetings with Disaster-Stricken Communities Starts!"


Prime Minister Kan started hearing requests from heads of municipalities directly by telephone as early as March. The current series of meetings will gather people dealing with the disaster from both the Government and local communities. The Government side is represented by Senior Vice-Minister of Cabinet Office for National Policy Tatsuo Hirano. The Prime Minister attended the first meeting.



June 11  Kamaishi City, Iwate Prefecture

<At fishing port>

Kamaishi City official: "There will be a siren shortly."


<The Prime Minister and others wait for the moment of silent prayer, facing the ocean>


<The Prime Minister and others enter the building>

A sign for the entrance to the venue of the town hall meeting. A new initiative kicked off to link the Government and communities.

Prime Minister: "Ministry officials are also here today together with Diet members involved with each issue."

Behind the Prime Minister are many Ministry officials.


<The meeting was attended by the mayors of Kamaishi City and Otsuchi Town, as well as people from commerce, agriculture, fisheries, social welfare, and medical sectors>

Prime Minister: "Instead of just hearing about the situation at the site, I want to make sure to incorporate what I have heard into the second supplementary budget and other government programs."


Theme 1. Promotion of industries

Mayor of Kamaishi City: "The top priority is the revival of the fisheries industry. We haven't even started rebuilding aquaculture facilities."


<The Prime Minister moves on to the destroyed Kamaishi Fish Market>

The revival of the fisheries industry, which is a core industry here, is key to revitalizing this region.


<The Prime Minister hears specific requests toward reconstruction>

Prefectural official: "Even if we bring fresh fish here, they can't be transported without refrigerating."

Prime Minister: "One thing we need is ice, then."

Fisheries cooperative official: "Even if you bring ice in blocks (from another place), they can't be used without crushing. That facility needs to be repaired now."

Prime Minister: "I will secure a budget for this immediately."

Fisheries cooperative official:"If we wait until the second supplementary budget, it will be too late for this year's fish."

Prime Minister: "To let you start work as early as possible, I will do all I can. I will do all I can so please be assured to start whatever you can."


Theme 2. Removal of rubble

<Returning to the town hall meeting>

Vice-Governor of Iwate Prefecture: "It will take a considerably long time to remove the rubble."

Prime Minister: "In principle, I want to transfer it (rubble in the residential area) to a temporary deposit by the middle of August."


<Together with the Mayor of Kamaishi City, the Prime Minister observes the situation concerning the removal of rubble in the City>

Prime Minister: "Within Kamaishi City alone, is there no space to keep all rubble temporarily?"

Mayor: "No. We will have no choice but to have destroyed rice fields and the like donated for this purpose..."

Prime Minister: "Even by borrowing, you mean."

In other disaster-stricken areas too, the lack of space to keep rubble remains to be a major issue.


<Suddenly a man speaks to the Prime Minister>

Man: "I have a request to the Prime Minister!"

Prime Minister: "Yes?"

Man: "You don't need to resign. Stay in office and do your best. No need to dissolve the Diet either! Speaking frankly, I am a supporter of the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan, but that doesn't matter. Honestly, I didn't want you to come here, to put it bluntly. If you have such time, I want you to remain there (in the Prime Minister's Office) to formulate a budget soon, to give a lump of money to the disaster-stricken regions. This is the voice of the people. Thank you!"

Prime Minister: "I will make sure to secure a budget for this."


<Lining up in the port facing the ocean>

Mayor of Kamaishi City: "We would like to offer a silent prayer together to express our condolences."


Exactly three months ago, at 14:46, the Great East Japan Earthquake occurred.

<The siren rings at 14:46 and the Prime Minister and others offer silent prayers>


Theme 3. Institutional barrier

<Again, returning to the town hall meeting>

Mayor of Kamaishi City: "We need to present a vision for rebuilding the town. For this, we need to address the issue of land use."

Deputy Mayor of Otsuchi Town: "The place we want to build a factory overlaps with an agricultural promotion zone. I want the Government to do something, such as establishment of special zones, so that we can start constructing any day now."

Prime Minister: "The law concerning the land use presents an obstacle, but not to let it stop people from taking initiatives they want to take..."


<Schedule of town hall meetings>


 Morning: Miyagi Prefecture  Sennan Region

 Afternoon: Miyagi Prefecture Kesennuma City


 Morning: Iwate Prefecture  Ofunato Region

 Afternoon: Iwate Prefecture  Miyako Region


(Senior Vice-Minister of Cabinet Office for National Policy Hirano and related ministry officials will also participate from the Government side)


<The Prime Minister answers to the press>

Prime Minister: "I heard what kinds of budget are truly needed. I will make sure to have them included in the second supplementary budget, and I want their needs addressed as soon as possible."


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