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Over the next five days, the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction will take place in Sendai.

The city of Sendai is located in the center of the Tohoku region, and is the economic and political hub of the area, which is blessed with a beautiful natural environment.

During the Great East Japan Earthquake, 900 precious lives were lost in the huge tsunami that followed, the majority of which were near coastal areas. The total cost of the damage reached 1.4 trillion.

Through the disaster, we learned the vulnerability of our city, as essential utilities and fuel supplies were interrupted. We also learned the importance of people’s power through local community ties and the importance of cooperating with several agents to put our efforts into disaster risk reduction. We discovered these problems and learned many lessons through the disaster. Four years have now passed and during this time we have been putting our efforts into a reconstruction project which, in addition to proceeding with the revival of the daily lives of disaster-affected people, sees us make our city stronger against disasters, based on the experiences and lessons learned from the 2011 disaster. The project has now entered its final stage.

During the conference beginning today, the results of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA), which was adopted at the last conference on this subject, will be examined. In addition to this, discussions will take place regarding a decision on a framework to follow moving forward. During the conference we will send out information to the world on the various experiences and lessons we learned from the disaster and on the efforts we have made based on them. We sincerely hope we can contribute to the development of disaster risk reduction around the world.

In addition to representative organizations from each country discussing global disaster risk reduction strategies at the conference, a public forum will also be held. At the forum, people will be able to participate in symposiums, seminars and exhibitions. It will see widespread participation from abroad in the form of government organizations, local governments, enterprises, universities, NGOs and local groups. The aforementioned will share information regarding disaster prevention, risk reduction, and recovery. The public forum alone will be a large-scale event, seeing approximately 400 symposiums and seminars held, in addition to over 300 booths and poster exhibitions. This will provide a valuable opportunity to learn and share information on disaster risk reduction from various perspectives.

The conference will not only involve representative groups from each country discussing global disaster risk reduction strategies, but is also a five-day period that will provide each and every one of us with an opportunity to learn and think about how to create a world strong against disasters. Thus, if your schedules permit, I sincerely hope that a great number of you will participate in the public forum.

At the time of the Great East Japan Earthquake, Sendai and the Tohoku region received great support from people around the world. Through this conference, the six prefectures of the Tohoku region have worked together and put their utmost efforts into preparation. We feel we must once more express our gratitude to those who supported us during that difficult time. We sincerely hope that, in addition to visiting each of Tohoku’s prefectures and seeing the present recovery status, all those who visit the region during the conference will experience the charm of each area in the form of local food, nature and culture.


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