On March 11 last year, Japan was hit by the worst earthquake in its history. As part ofÂ commemoration of the disasterâ€”that led to loss of life of thousands and crippled the countryâ€™s economy, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda wrote this article. In the first chapter run last week, Yoda speaks of the progress made by his country in trying to recover and protect its citizens from future disasters of this nature. Among the many steps taken in the past twelve months in response to the disaster has been the establishment of a budgetary and legislative framework that laid out many of the strategic tools for reconstruction; andÂ the creation of special reconstruction zones that will attract investment from within and overseas. Below is a continuation and the last part of the article:
Another area where Japan can, and I believe must, lead the world and share its knowledge is in disaster risk reduction and response. We have learnt, in the harshest possible terms, that it is no longer acceptable to claim that events had been unforeseen. In order to build resilient communities and a country that is able to withstand natural disasters and is sustainable, disaster management measures are undergoing a comprehensive review and will be dramatically strengthened.
Of course, Japan also faces challenges that were apparent before last year’s earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster. Some, such as securing robust economic growth and rebuilding government finances, we have been tackling for a number of years. The longer these issues are left unresolved, the more serious they become.
Above all else, the promise that I have made to the Japanese people since becoming Prime Minister in September last year is that I will no longer tolerate the politics of indecision. A propensity to delay difficult and weighty decisions has been hurting our country, is detrimental to our economy, society and our future, and cannot be allowed to continue.
The many projects now underway for the reconstruction and revitalization of Japan constitute the first step toward the country’s economic revival. With global economic uncertainty, historic appreciation of the yen and long-standing deflation, securing robust economic growth is a momentous challenge, but it is not insurmountable.
We must draw upon the unique strengths of the Japanese economy, seek an open and cooperative approach with our international partners, and intelligently exploit the promise of new growth areas. Sectors such as energy, the environment, health and nursing care hold significant potential as leading growth industries, where Japan can tap innovative ideas and investment from the private sector, including foreign direct investment, and play a leading role globally.
We aim to create the conditions to support increased international interest and investment in Japan, not only from a business perspective, but also in the growth of tourism.
As a prerequisite, we commit to providing timely and accurate information to the international community.
In recent history, Japan seized rapid economic expansion from the ashes and desolation of World War II, and built the most energy-efficient economy in the world in the aftermath of the oil shock.
On the anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake we are reminded that we are now faced with a challenge of similar proportions.
Our goal is not simply to reconstruct the Japan that existed before March 11, 2011, but to build a new Japan.
This is a historic challenge and one that we are determined to overcome.