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This section outlines official Press and Media Statements issued by the Ministry of Information and Communications in addition to Press Releases from the Prime Minister's Office and other Government Ministries and Departments.

Japan Marks Two Years After Great East Japan Earthquake

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11 March 2013 On March 11, 2013, Japan remembers the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011.  People across Japan are holding events to pay tribute to the memory of loved victims of the earthquake and tsunami.  Government-wide efforts toward early reconstruction show steady progress up until today.

Public and temporary housing had been made available to all of the 320,000 people displaced; approximately 470,000 people were evacuated to shelters, immediately after the earthquake and tsunami (see attachment).

His Excellency, Dr. Kazuchika Hamuro, Ambassador of Japan to the Kingdom of Tonga issued his following statement expressing his appreciation to the People and the Government of the Kingdom of Tonga.  "In the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami, the People and the Government of the Kingdom of Tonga expressed their most heartfelt words of condolences, sympathies, and encouragement.  I was told by my predecessor, H.E. Mr. Yasuo Takase, how heartfelt and encouraging words and actions of the People and the Government of the Kingdom of Tonga were after the March 11 incident.  The People and the Government of Japan never forget solidarity extended by the People and the Government of the Kingdom of Tonga."

Japan has continued its cooperation with the Kingdom of Tonga after the earthquake and tsunami, including the completion of the project for the upgrading and refurbishment of Vaiola Hospital in April 2012 as well as its grassroots projects through Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects.  In March 2012, the Governments of Japan and of the Kingdom of Tonga signed and exchanged notes for the Non-Project Grant Assistance (equivalent to approximately 5 million Pa'anga) to provide industrial products manufactured in the disaster-affected region, which is to be handed-over this year.

In May 2012, the Government of Japan announced its commitment at the Sixth Pacific Leader Meeting in Okinawa to put forth its maximum efforts to provide the assistance of up to 500 million US dollars to the region over the next three years.  Response to Natural Disasters, including sharing best practices and lessons learned from the earthquake and tsunami, is one of the center pillars of Japan's contribution and partnership in the South Pacific regions.  Japan has supported Tonga's efforts to launch a seismic observation network since 2002 and started dispatching JICA volunteers since 2010 to assist in this area.  More recently, Japan and the World Bank launched the Pacific Disaster Financing and Risk Insurance Program; the catastrophe risk insurance pilot in Tonga has launched in November 2012.

ENDS

Issued by the: Embassy of Japan in Tonga, Nuku'alofa, 2013.For further enquires please contact:  Mr. Fumihito Shinohara, Second Secretary, Embassy of Japan in Tonga. Level 5, National Reserve Bank of Tonga Building / Telephone: 22-221 / Fax 27-025 (PR2012# 21)
 
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