Abe encourages disaster-hit Iwate


Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reaffirmed his resolve Saturday to support the reconstruction of tsunami-devastated coastal communities in Iwate during a trip to the prefecture.

“We will make every effort to help rebuild homes and towns,” Abe said in the coastal city of Miyako, taking a firsthand look at the shattered Taro district and hearing about the planned relocation of its residents to higher ground following the Great East Japan Earthquake.

He also visited a seafood-processing plant and tasted “wakame” seaweed to demonstrate his trust in the safety of local produce, which has been hard hit by rumors of radioactive contamination in view of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe.

Abe then proceeded to another coastal community, Yamada, and visited a subsidiary set up by a shipbuilding company based in Hiroshima Prefecture to revitalize local industries and create jobs in the disaster-hit town. The prime minister shook hands with its employees and encouraged them to work hard for the town’s recovery. He also exchanged views with disaster victims.

It was Abe’s second visit to Iwate since he took office in December. He has since visited disaster areas in Tohoku every month since his Liberal Democratic Party swept the Dec. 16 general election.