Message from Mayor of Fukushima
Repose of souls and condolence
Today marks ten years since the Great East Japan Earthquake and the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident.
On this occasion, I would like to express my condolences for the people who lost their precious lives in those disasters, and my sympathy to all who were and still are affected.
Chapter 1: With All My Feelings of Gratitude
March 11, 2021, will mark the tenth anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and the Tokyo Electric Company’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident.
Our hometown, Fukushima City, suffered unprecedented damage in these devastating events. Particularly, the radiation disaster as the result of the nuclear power plant accident, which was far beyond our imagination. With radioactive substances scattering far and wide, covering not only the coastal Hama-dori region but even the central Naka-dori region.
This affected our city, located some 60 kilometers away from the nuclear plant, causing unprecedented difficulties such as anxiety over health among the citizens of Fukushima City as well as widespread negative rumors.
Will it ever be possible for us to recover our normal daily lives as they were before Will it be possible to regain our former peaceful everyday life For all of us, the future was hard to imagine. Yet it was in those gloomy days that encouraging and heart-warming voices came to us from countless people, not only from many countries worldwide, but also from throughout Japan.
All the support that we enjoyed was truly priceless, and encouraged and motivated us to boldly face what would be a challenging recovery. On behalf of each and every citizen of Fukushima City, I would like to express to you all my heartfelt gratitude.
Chapter 2:The Current Situation Moving Towards Recovery
However, we are only halfway to full recovery: Anxieties over radiation and negative rumors about our local farm products still persist. More than 2,000 Fukushima citizens, though significantly below the peak level, continue to live as refugees in various parts of Japan.
Chapter 3: Further Challenges
After the Great Earthquake, we experienced Typhoon No.19 (Hagibis), the coronavirus pandemic, and the Fukushima Earthquake.
In the month of December 2020 alone, 7 cluster infections of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) occurred in Fukushima City. As many as 294 positive cases were confirmed, and at one point, three of the city's emergency hospitals were temporarily closed, bringing the medical system to the brink of collapse. This forced us to announce our own COVID-19 Emergency Warning.
While challenges may come one after the other, we will never give up. Our confidence springs from the fact that we have overcome that catastrophic earthquake and the nuclear power plant accident.
All the support we have received will be turned to a strong motivation for recovery.
And the numerous difficulties we have faced will be transformed into an opportunity for innovation.
With this strength, we will be united as one great team to take strong steps forward to create a new stage of Fukushima City.
Chapter 4: The Responsibilities of the Prefectural Capital
The importance of taking initial actions, mutual communication among citizens, the consideration for the elderly and handicapped, collaboration with other local governments and private-sector organizations, and human fellowship. These are lessons we have truly mastered from our experience in those unprecedented disasters.
Reading a decade since the great earthquake inevitably brings into focus the subjects of “Fukushima” and “Recovery.” Fukushima is not only the name of the prefectural capital, it is also the name of the entire prefecture. Therefore we are highly motivated to contribute not only to the development of our own city area but also to all of Fukushima Prefecture.
While passing on our memories of and the lessons learned from the great disaster to the coming generation, we will strive to create a positive future of post-recovery, not only for our community, but also to contribute to the recovery and rebirth of the other municipalities within the prefecture.
Chapter 5: Fukushima City, the Prefectural Capital, as a Town that Conveys Voices of Cheer to the World
In April this year, we will commence the second phase of recovery and creation of our hometown, Fukushima City.
Our community’s rebirth does not come after recovery. Rather, recovery will be achieved only when we can proceed with the creation of a new era through collaboration with local citizens.
The post-earthquake period has seen a noticeable rise in the activities of citizens, particularly the younger generations, who are willing to be involve in recovery activities, and are supported by industry-academia-government collaboration.
The citizens of our community, from a broad range of ages, are participating in our city workshops on community planning and the opening of new facilities.
This indicates an increasing momentum with which our dedicated citizens and our administration are cooperating together to create a better community with mutually shared goals.
We pledge to do our best in addressing a true recovery – never forgetting our gratitude for the kind support we have received, working closely together with local residents and in collaboration with supporters both throughout Japan and abroad.
We are also committed to pursuing priority issues such as the creation of a safe community free of worry, improvement of the child-rearing environment and the rebirth of Fukushima as the ‘Healthy Prefectural Capital – Fukushima’. Let us also mention positive responses to problems such as health and mental care for those in need, as well as the elimination of negative rumors related to the great disasters. Furthermore, we will enhance the image of our community by integrating widely-oriented urban facilities and promoting Fukushima City as a prefectural capital that exudes dignity and one that is filled with cultural sophistication.
Our ultimate goal is to make Fukushima a place truly worth living in with a community that all of us can take pride in, by realizing that “we are so lucky to be living here.”
In conclusion, let me just say that our goal is to make Fukushima a ‘town that conveys voices of cheer and encouragement to anyone around the world who has been affected by disasters’.
March 11, 2021
Hiroshi Kohata, Mayor of Fukushima City