Prime Minister Naoto Kan and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano shed their light blue worker uniforms Friday to assure the public the eastern half of the country is recovering from the devastating earthquake and tsunami.

Kan’s entire Cabinet had been wearing the outfits since March 11 to show Tokyo’s solidarity with the victims of the disaster, especially in the tsunami-ravaged Tohoku.

“I decided to change back to normal clothes to show the government has firmly entered the next step of restoration and reconstruction,” Edano said at a Friday morning press conference dressed in a dark suit.

Edano said the government was doing everything to solve the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant but added it would be “long-term to a certain extent” before evacuation orders in the area are lifted.

“I know for certain that it will not be a few days or weeks before we are able to call off the evacuation on a full scale,” he said. “But we must take measures on issues regarding evacuees’ jobs or their children’s schooling and we’ve already given such instructions” to the pertinent ministries, Edano said.

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