Activities of Secretary-General in Japan, 7-9 August

17 August 2011

Activities of Secretary-General in Japan, 7-9 August

Accompanied by his wife, Madam Ban Soon-taek, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Tokyo on the afternoon of Sunday, 7 August.

He travelled by bullet train directly to Fukushima, which was hard hit by the March earthquake and tsunami.  Upon arrival at the train station in the evening, the Secretary-General was met by Yuhei Sato, Governor of Fukushima Prefecture.

The following morning, Monday, 8 August, the Secretary-General attended a breakfast hosted by Chiaki Takahashi, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, and Mr. Sato.  The Secretary-General said that while Japan is one of the best prepared countries in the world to deal with natural disasters, the scope of the recent tsunami and nuclear power accident was great and that lessons must be learned from them.  (See Press Release SG/SM/13736)

He then met with evacuees at the Azuma Sogo Sports Park and Evacuation Centre, before stopping at Fukushima Minami High School, where he expressed his solidarity with the people of Fukushima.  “This is a moment for common humanity, beyond all politics or nationalities,” he told the students.  “Youth have ideals and energy.  The United Nations is founded on ideals.  And we need your energy.”  (See Press Release SG/SM/13737)

The Secretary-General’s last stop in Fukushima was at Haragama Beach in Soma City.  There, he expressed his sadness at the destruction he had seen.  “At the same time,” he said, “I am encouraged by what I have seen: such national will, un‑breaking spirit, and determination and resilience of the Japanese people and Government.”

In the afternoon, he returned to Tokyo, where he met with Prime Minister Naoto Kan.  In a press encounter afterwards, the Secretary-General voiced hope that the Japanese Government would contribute constructively to the success of September’s high-level summit on nuclear safety and security.

He then held talks with Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto.  The Secretary-General told reporters after the meeting that he discussed Japan’s recent triple disaster and the situation in the Horn of Africa with Mr. Matsumoto.  They also conferred on how the United Nations and Japan can work to enhance peace and security around the world, as well as Japan’s contributions to peacekeeping.  The evening ended with a dinner hosted by the Foreign Minister in the Secretary-General’s honour.

The following morning, Tuesday, 9 August, the Secretary-General met with Katsuya Okada, who serves as Secretary-General of Japan’s Democratic Party.

During his talks with Defence Minister Toshimi Kitazawa, the Secretary-General expressed his gratitude to the Japanese Government for its invaluable assistance in support of United Nations field missions and for enhancing the capacity of peacekeepers.

Following his meeting with Tadateru Konoe, President of the International Federation of the Red Cross and the Japanese Red Cross, the Secretary-General departed Tokyo for Seoul, Republic of Korea.

For information media. Not an official record.