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The View from Miyagi Prefecture: Rep. Takashi Abe

March 25 – Higashi-Matsushima, Japan – Miyagi Prefectural Assemblyman Takashi Abe attended an event at local Hamaichi Elementary School commemorating the two-year anniversary of the devastating earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011, and ongoing revival efforts.

Representative Abe, a member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, spoke with the Nissan Global Media Center on the state of recovery in Higashi-Matsushima and all of Japan’s Tohoku region.

Global Media Center: Today’s school event has been months in the making. From the government’s perspective – looking at the gathering of students, their families, graduates from many years back – how do you see its importance for the community?

Rep. Abe: As local officials, we really welcome this event. We were especially glad to hear that the parents from the PTA (Parent Teacher Association) came out to organize this, and as local officials we are supporting it from the side.

Global Media Center: It’s been two years since the events of March 11. Certainly, there are signs that more needs to be done. Can you tell us from the government’s perspective what is the outlook for recovery in this region?

Rep. Abe: From this April, students will be transferred to a new school called Naruse-Oka Elementary School to begin their next school term.

In this area, there is a reconstruction plan after the earthquake that the local government office has created to rebuild the area within 10 years.

As Miyagi prefecture, we see this as the final year of the initial recovery and need to return everything to normal in seven years. One aspect is energy, another is employment, and also returning people to their normal lives, as there are still some living in temporary housing. These are the three areas that we are focusing on as the local government.

Global Media Center: You’ve mentioned making a community and we are surrounded by solar panels and electric cars, and even wind power generators. What part is that going to play in the next community?

Rep. Abe: After 3-11, not only Miyagi prefecture but all the towns and cities in Miyagi have started to implement renewable energy plans, for example, with solar and wind power, to rebuild themselves as smart cities.

Especially electric power is considered as environmentally-friendly energy, so we are prioritizing the generation of electricity via solar, wind and also micro-hydropower.

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