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Disaster anniversary speech: No mention of "nuclear" nor "disaster"...

March 14, 2017

SIX YEARS AFTER: Fukushima governor irked at omission in Abe’s speech



By AYA NAGATANI/ Staff Writer

FUKUSHIMA--Fukushima Governor Masao Uchibori expressed his frustration at Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's failure to mention the nuclear accident in Fukushima during a speech on March 11 on the sixth anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.

"This is an accident that does not exist in the past tense, but in the present progressive form," Uchibori said at a regularly scheduled news conference on March 13. "It is not possible to avoid using the important and significant terms of the nuclear plant accident or nuclear power disaster."

He added that the prime minister's failure to use such terms in a memorial event speech to remember the victims of the March 11, 2011, disasters left Fukushima residents with a sense of discomfort.

"Fukushima Prefecture has experienced enormous damage from a terrible nuclear accident that is unprecedented in the world," Uchibori said in the news conference.

While Abe did not mention the nuclear accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, which was triggered by the earthquake and tsunami, he did not forget the prefecture completely in his speech at the National Theater in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward.

"I feel that the rebuilding process in Fukushima has entered a new stage with the lifting of evacuation orders for various parts of the prefecture," Abe said.

The government-sponsored event has been held annually on March 11 since 2012. Abe has spoken at the commemorations from 2013 until 2016 and mentioned the fact that many Fukushima residents could not return to their hometowns due to the nuclear accident.

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Fukushima governor unhappy with Abe’s disaster anniversary speech




FUKUSHIMA – Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori signaled his displeasure with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s failure to refer directly to the nuclear crisis during a speech at Saturday’s government-sponsored memorial ceremony for the March 2011 disaster.

“I felt at odds (with his speech) as a Fukushima resident,” Uchibori said Monday at a news conference.

Uchibori said that “Fukushima Prefecture has been suffering from tremendous damage” related to the nuclear accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, stressing that the damage “is ongoing, not in the past tense.”

The phrases “nuclear accident” and “nuclear disaster” are indispensable in such speeches, he said.

Abe said in his speech on the sixth anniversary of the 3/11 earthquake and tsunami that infrastructure in areas devastated by the disaster is now almost restored. He also said evacuation advisories issued to areas near Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s disaster-stricken plant have been lifted in stages.

Noting that more than 120,000 people are still living as evacuees, Abe said his government will work to provide seamless support.

But he did not use the phrase “nuclear accident” in this year’s address, in a change from previous speeches.

At a news conference in Tokyo on Monday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said “the memorial ceremony was intended for disaster victims, including those affected by the nuclear accident, and the speech referred to the reconstruction of Fukushima. There is no way that (the nuclear accident) is being forgotten.”

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