August 29(Monday)

"Final [Last Spurt] 'Until My Last Day as Prime Minister' ... Activities before Resignation and Beyond."

 

After announcing his resignation at the press conference on August 26, Prime Minister Kan headed to Fukushima. "This is my responsibility." Leaving an inscription of the phrase quoted from Buddhist priest Sokyu Genyu (a member of the Reconstruction Design Council) at one of the disaster sites he visited, even after stepping down the Prime Minister is intent on putting this phrase into practice.

 

 

<August 26  Announcement of resignation>

Prime Minister: I shall step down as leader of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) as of today, and following the election of a new DPJ President, leave the post of Prime Minister.

 

The day following the announcement of his resignation, Prime Minister Kan headed toward... Fukushima.

 

<Interview>

Prime Minister: Given the seriousness of the matter, that in some places it might not be possible for people to return home for five, ten years or even longer, I thought it is my responsibility as the one serving as Prime Minister at the time of the March 11 earthquake to communicate about this [instead of leaving that task to the next Prime Minister]. This is why I came here.

 

<August 27  Governor Sato upon hearing the Prime Minister speaking at the Fukushima Prefectural Office>

Governor Sato: This was truly painful and grave news to the people in Fukushima Prefecture...

 

In the background of the Governor's words―the Prime Minister visited Fukushima six times since the disaster, and directly spoke to many people afflicted by the disaster.

 

<From Prime Minister KAN's TV No. 18―People directly speaking to the Prime Minister at an evacuation center in Fukushima>

Woman (crying): I want to go back home.

 

Man (speaking quietly): Please make Tomioka Town become as close [re-accessible] as possible. Right now, my house is now farther away to me than the United States.

 

<Interview>

Prime Minister: Everyone spoke of how strongly they wanted to return to their former life and go back to where they used to live. As I recall them speaking to me as such, honestly it was rather a painful task to convey such a report today to the Governor [that there are some places where people may not be able to return for an extended period of time].

 

<Going back to the announcement of resignation on August 26>

Prime Minister: I will continue to do my utmost on this problem [of the nuclear accident] until my last day as Prime Minister.

Being true to his words, just in the few days before leaving his post, the Prime Minister accomplished, with regard to the countermeasures for contamination by radioactive materials,

  • Establishment of an organization to direct the cleanup,
  • Finalization of the basic policy for the future,
  • Cabinet approval for the budget expenditure, and
  • Passage of the bill stipulating the national government's responsibility to clean up contaminated rubble.

Furthermore, the Prime Minister managed to bring about

  • Inauguration of a preparatory office for the reform of nuclear energy administration,
  • Passage of the Bill to Promote Renewable Energies,
  • The first meeting of the Council for Reconstructing Fukushima from the Nuclear Disaster gathering national and local government officials and other experts,

among other achievements. As such, steady progress is being made with regard to policies.

 

August 25 (Thu)   

  • Liaison Meeting for Measures against Radioactive Contamination launched

...A 'cross-ministerial' commanding center

August 26 (Fri)   

  • Basic Principles on Emergency Decontamination Works decided

...Reduce the radiation level by 50% in the next two years, etc.

  • 220 billion yen decontamination budget approved at the Cabinet meeting
  • Special Measures Bill on Environmental Pollution from Radioactive Materials passed

...National government will be responsible for cleaning up contaminated rubble, etc.

-----------------------------
 
August 26 (Fri)

  • Preparatory Office for Reform of Nuclear Safety Regulation Organization and Other Reforms established

...Preparation to launch Nuclear Safety and Security Agency (tentative name)

  • Bill to Promote Renewable Energies passed

August 27 (Sat)

  • Council for Reconstructing Fukushima from the Nuclear Disaster

 

<Interview>

Prime Minister: Each minister in charge, as well as officials engaged in various tasks at the site, are joining hands with me in doing everything we can until the very last moment of my Cabinet. "We see the next runners coming close to us, but let's keep running until we surely pass the baton to them." That is how they approach their work.

 

The Prime Minister left the following inscription on a message board at a volunteer center in one of the disaster areas.

 

<June 11  A volunteer center in Kamaishi City, Iwate Prefecture
The Prime Minister inscribes a message on the wall―the message is "Live with Determination">

 

<Interview>

Prime Minister: As the Prime Minister who experienced the Great East Japan Earthquake during his office and spearheaded various responses to the disaster, even after I step down it does not mean that my responsibility will be gone altogether. Although I will no longer be Prime Minister, I intend to visit the disaster areas every now and then as I have been doing, and listen to the people there and communicate messages to those who need them. That is what I am thinking.

 

So far 27 episodes of Prime Minister KAN's TV have been broadcasted. This is the 28th episode and will be the final one.

 

Prime Minister: I imagine that people who saw these episodes were able to gain a greater understanding of what activities I was engaged in and with what kind of conviction. I want to thank all the enthusiastic viewers from the bottom of my heart.

 

Thank you very much.



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