2 March 2012

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Year after Devastating Earthquake, Secretary-General Praises Courage, Impressive

Resilience of Japanese People, in Message to Fukushima Energy Seminar


Following is Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message to the International Energy Seminar in Fukushima, Japan, 2 March:

I am pleased to send greetings to this International Energy Seminar.

A year has passed since the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan, killing thousands of people and driving thousands of others from their homes.

I well remember this terrible disaster — the heartbreaking damage but also the impressive resilience of the Japanese people.  When I visited Fukushima last August, the displaced families I met were brave, dignified and determined to reclaim their lives.

In material terms, they had very little.  But in terms of the human spirit, they had a wealth of strength.

Now, twelve months on, we pause to remember the disaster.  We have been working hard to draw lessons from what happened.  The best tribute we can pay to the people of Fukushima and other affected areas is to answer their calls to ensure that no other communities ever suffer the same fate.

Japan’s preparedness saved many lives.  Yet there is also much that Japan and others around the world can do to improve the way we respond to and prepare for disasters.

Sustainable energy, the urgent global issue that has brought you together here, will be crucial for Fukushima’s future and for the world’s efforts to achieve sustainable development.

The Smart Community Initiative is an example of Japan’s vision.  I support the country’s efforts to build back better with more efficient, eco-friendly communities powered by sustainable energy.

My Sustainable Energy for All initiative aims to support, showcase and scale up projects like Smart Communities.  I welcome Japan’s commitment to furthering such projects. 

Sustainable energy is among the keys to boosting economic growth, preserving the global environment and promoting social justice.

This is a triple win for people and the planet.

Our goal is to turn power on in every home while turning down the global thermostat.

My Sustainable Energy for All Initiative sets out three complementary objectives to be reached by 2030:  First, providing universal access to modern energy services.  Second, doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency.  Third, doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.  Realizing this vision is feasible and necessary.  But it will require real commitment.

We have an opportunity to advance the cause of sustainable energy, address the problem of climate change and steer the world towards a more sustainable path at this year’s United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro.  I urge you to do your utmost to contribute to a successful outcome at Rio+20 and to carry forward the decisions that will be taken there.  In that way, the progress you realize in Japan can benefit our world.

I commend the foresight and fortitude of the people of Japan.


Ganbappe Fukushima. Kokuren mo sekai mo ouen shite imasu.

[You can do it, Fukushima!  The United Nations and the world are behind Japan in this.]

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For information media • not an official record