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Abe in Fukushima

April 8, 2017


Abe visits Fukushima with Imamura, repeats pledge to back 3/11 reconstruction



JIJI, Staff Report

NARAHA, FUKUSHIMA PREF. – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Saturday renewed the government’s pledge to support Fukushima’s reconstruction as he paid a visit to see how the prefecture’s residents were getting along after the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis wrecked their lives.

In the morning, Abe visited a livestock farm in the town of Naraha, which was the first to resume shipping raw milk from areas hit with evacuation orders after the triple core meltdown at Tokyo Electric’s Fukushima No. 1 power plant.

“We want to support Fukushima’s efforts to dispel harmful rumors related to the nuclear accident and widen sales channels,” Abe said after sampling some local milk and yogurt.

He then went north to Tomioka, where he told a town gathering that the government will work together with the people of Fukushima to accelerate reconstruction.

In the afternoon, Abe visited the town of Namie, where all evacuation orders were lifted in March except in “difficult-to-return-to” zones with high radiation levels near the crippled plant.

He tasted young lancefish caught during fishing tests in waters where people voluntarily refrained from fishing.

Masahiro Imamura, the minister for disaster reconstruction, accompanied Abe on the trip.

After the Fukushima Prefectural Government terminated financial assistance for housing 26,000 so-called voluntary evacuees on March 31, Imamura came under fire last week for saying that those who cautiously opted to flee areas not designated for evacuation should take responsibility for their decisions. Many do not plan to return.

He withdrew the remarks on Friday.

Speaking to reporters in Minamisoma, Abe said, “The minister has already apologized and I also would like to give an apology.”

He added, “There has been no change in my Cabinet’s policy to promote reconstruction as we stay considerate of the feelings of the affected people.”

Imamura told reporters in Namie: “What is most important is to lift up local communities. I will work hard for that.”


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