Remarks by H.E. Mr. Takeaki Matsumoto,
Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan
at the Opening Session of the Third TICAD Ministerial Follow-up Meeting
May 1, 2011
Your Excellency Mr. Souleymane Ndéné Ndiaye, Prime Minister of the Republic of Senegal,
Honorable ministers, ambassadors, distinguished delegates,
Ladies and gentlemen,
On March 11th, eastern part of Japan was struck by a tremendous earthquake, with the scale of the fourth largest quake ever recorded in world history. Shortly thereafter, an enormous tsunami, higher than 10 or even 15 meters, surged in and swept away towns and villages in the region. At present, more than 25,000 people, including non-Japanese, have been either killed or remain unaccounted for. The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant also sustained serious damages from the tsunami, which knocked out the power to cool the nuclear reactors and spent fuel pools.
Immediately after the quake, many countries as well as regional and international organizations, including those gathered here at this meeting, have kindly extended us the hands of warmhearted assistance. The disaster relief teams were quickly dispatched and engaged in search and rescue operations, removal of rubbles and medical assistance under tough conditions. Blankets, water, food, and other relief supplies were also sent out and were delivered to the disaster-struck areas accordingly. Furthermore, monetary contributions have been received from all around the world. On behalf of the government and the people of Japan, I would like to express our profound gratitude for the solidarity shown by the international community, including the warm support from African countries, in response to this earthquake disaster.
The Japanese people are encouraged by your support. We are determined to recover from this unprecedented national crisis and re-emerge as even stronger Japan, by bringing together our own strength and the support from the international community. We will not forget the solidarity you have shown to us. The holding of this meeting as scheduled and my opening remarks to you as a co-chair are a testimony of Japan's firm intention to strengthen the solidarity between Japan and Africa more intensively than ever.
Despite the earthquake disaster, Japan will continue to take an active role in enhancing peace and stability of the international community. We hereby express our unwaivering determination to continue to faithfully implement the international commitment we made, including the pledges made at the TICAD IV.
Now I would like to say a few words with regard to the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The Government of Japan is currently making its utmost efforts to bring the situation to a settlement, examining all possible means, with the advice and cooperation extended by the IAEA and specific countries. On April 17th, Tokyo Electric Power Company released a "roadmap" towards the settlement of the accident. With this roadmap as a start, our government intends to move from "emergency response phase" to "phase of taking scheduled and regular measures" which aims at a planified settlement.
Japan intends to continue to provide information to the international community with the maximum transparency. Further, Japan intends to share experiences and knowledge gained through this accident with the international community in the utmost transparent manner, so as to contribute to the enhancement of nuclear safety.
On behalf of the Government of Japan, the United Nations, the UNDP, the World Bank, and the African Union Commission, which are the co-organizers of TICAD, I sincerely welcome your participation in the Third TICAD Ministerial Follow-up Meeting. I further wish to express my cordial appreciation to H.E. President Abdoulaye Wade, H.E. Prime Minister Souleymane Ndéné Ndiaye, H.E. Foreign Minister Madické Niang and all those of the Government of the Republic of Senegal for their extensive cooperation in hosting this meeting.
I wholeheartedly welcome the African Union Commission as a new Co-organizer of this meeting. I am extremely gratified that through its joining as a Co-organizer, the respect for African ownership, which is one of the distinctive characteristics of the TICAD process, will be enhanced significantly. I very much look forward to seeing even more active role played by the AUC in the TICAD process.
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