23 September 2011 Japan is making steady progress in stabilizing the nuclear power plant damaged by the massive earthquake and catastrophic tsunami which hit the country in March, but a number of challenges remain, including the removal of debris and restoring the livelihoods of people in the affected region, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda told the General Assembly today.
“Currently, we are focusing our efforts on moving up the existing target period to achieve cold shutdown by the end of the year,” Mr. Noda told the Assembly’s general debate in New York, referring to the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
“Although some countries, regrettably, are still imposing undue restrictions on imports from Japan, our Government will continue to provide prompt and accurate information on this matter, with transparency. I would request that all countries make sound judgements based upon scientific evidence.”
He announced that Japan will next year hold an international conference in the Tohoku region that was struck by the earthquake and tsunami in an effort to boost international cooperation on responding to natural disasters.
“The first lesson from Japan’s recent tragedy is the importance of international cooperation in disaster risk reduction.”
The country will also co-host with the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) a second international conference next year to share the results of the overall assessment of the disaster at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, as a contribution to the various measures taken by the international community to raise the standards of nuclear energy safety.
Mr. Noda said that Japan was pursuing a growth path that promotes low-carbon technologies and a transition to a greener economy. “The key to achieving these goals is technological innovation in the areas of renewable energy, energy saving and clean use of fossil fuels.”
He expressed Japan’s readiness to support the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and announced that his country is preparing to send military officers to serve in the mission. A Japanese military engineering unit would also be dispatched to join UNMISS.
On the drought-induced humanitarian emergency in the Horn of Africa, Mr. Noda said that Japan had already disbursed about $100 million in assistance.
He also announced that Japan will support reforms and democratization efforts in North Africa and the Middle East, saying Tokyo will provide the equivalent of $1 billion in loans to fund infrastructure and industrial development projects as a way of boosting employment and human resource development.
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