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Handing down lessons from disaster: Great East Japan Earthquake

February 5, 2015

The Party's Headquarters for Accelerating Reconstruction after the Great East Japan Earthquake (Chairperson: Tadamori Oshima, Member of the House of Representatives) held a plenary session on February 5 to approve a draft bill that would designate March 11 as "Great East Japan Earthquake Day."

The purpose of the bill is to commemorate the sacrifices made in the earthquake and to hand down the lessons learned so that, in the future, reconstruction can be accelerated and stronger preparations put in place.

It categorizes the disaster as an "unprecedented trial for the country" consisting of a combination of an earthquake, a tsunami and a nuclear accident, and it encourages the central and local governments to (1) hold events in line with the intentions of the day, (2) teach disaster prevention and disaster preparedness in homes, schools, workplaces and communities, (3) hold activities that hand down lessons and knowledge gained in the disaster, and (4) conduct research into disaster preparedness and prevention.

The day would not become a national holiday, but would be similar to September 1, the date of the Great Kanto Earthquake that now serves as "Disaster Reduction Day."

Vice-Chairperson Shunichi Suzuki explained the bill, "When we visit the disaster area, many of the people we meet urge us not to let the memories be lost over time. We have to see reconstruction through until the end." He expressed his intention to call for cooperation from the opposition parties for early passage of the bill.

The plenary session also approved draft legislation to amend the Act on Special Measures for Fukushima Reconstruction and Revitalization that would facilitate the return of residents who fled the nuclear accident by creating a new "collective reconstruction and revitalization center development" program and "grants to develop an environment for evacuees' return."

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