• Kyodo News


Prime Minister Naoto Kan is making arrangements to visit the devastated city of Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture, on April 2, government sources said Sunday.

Plans for his trip to city — one of those hardest hit by the March 11 twin disasters — come after the prime minister phoned Mayor Futoshi Toba on Saturday to ask about the city’s condition and any concerns the central government could address, the sources said.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano stressed the importance of the leader seeing the situation on the ground firsthand. Edano said it would be “very meaningful” for the prime minister to speak with victims, but acknowledged concerns about burdening local officials with Kan’s security.

Rikuzentakata was severely damaged by both the 9.0-magnitude quake and ensuing tsunami, which killed or injured many. Numerous residents were also still sheltering at evacuation facilities.

On March 12, the day after the quake and tsunami, Kan inspected the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant by helicopter.

He was scheduled to visit evacuees in another hard-hit city — Miyagi Prefecture’s Ishinomaki, but his trip was canceled at the last minute due to poor weather.

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