Friends Stood by Japan in Its Time of Need
By Makoto Ito*
Albanian Daily News
Published March 10, 2018
Seven years ago, on March 11, 2011, Japan experienced the Great East Japan Earthquake.
This was an unprecedented natural disaster that included the earthquake and a tsunami that devastated the Tohoku region of our country, further complicated by severe damage to a nuclear power plant in Fukushima. The scale of the disaster and extent of the damage were overwhelming. Nearly 16,000 people were lost and more than 2,000 are still counted as missing.
In the face of that, our friends from around the world as well as from Albania stepped up with tremendous aid and assistance. Albanians showed great compassion and generosity. Well wishes and ideas to help came pouring into our offices around the world.
I am glad to report that, while there is still much to do, our recovery is proceeding smoothly. In most of the damaged area, infrastructure has been rebuilt and more than half of the people displaced have been able to return. Reconstruction in the most heavily damaged coastal areas has begun and is continuing on schedule, as are cleanup and monitoring operations for the Fukushima nuclear plant.
A major theme of the recovery has been to treat it as an opportunity, to improve various aspects of social and economic systems, to make society better overall.
As we move ahead, our reconstruction efforts are combined with preparation and improvement projects scheduled for the Tokyo Olympics of 2020. We are confident that as this process continues, Japan encourages you to visit at any time.
I would like to convey once again our most sincere thanks to the Government of Albania and the people of Albania for their kind support and valuable assistance during that time of need in Japan. We will never forget.
*Ambassador of Japan to Albania