Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivers a speech at a government-sponsored memorial event on March 11 for the victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami six years ago.
Fukushima Pref. governor criticizes Abe’s 3/11 memorial speech
FUKUSHIMA — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been criticized by the governor of Fukushima Prefecture for not using the term “nuclear accident” during his speech at a Great East Japan Earthquake memorial service in Tokyo, on March 11.
Masao Uchibori, who has been governor of Fukushima Prefecture since 2014, expressed his criticism of Abe during a news conference on March 13. Specifically, Uchibori stated, “To Fukushima residents, it felt strange that Abe left the phrase ‘nuclear accident’ out of his speech. One must not ignore important terms such as ‘nuclear plant accident’ or ‘nuclear disaster'” when referring to what has happened in Fukushima.
The government-sponsored memorial service for the Great East Japan Earthquake, which Abe spoke at on March 11 2017, has taken place every year since 2012. Until last year, Abe spoke about the “nuclear accident” during his speeches.
Uchibori also pointed out during the news conference that, “There has been considerable damage as a result of the nuclear accident, which is globally unprecedented in terms of its brutality. The repercussions of the accident are still having an impact today, not something of the past.”
SIX YEARS AFTER: Fukushima governor irked at omission in Abe’s speech
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.