Japan safe again, resurgent: Ambassador to India

March 11th, 2012 - 5:29 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 11 (IANS) Japanese ambassador to India Akitaka Saiki said Sunday his country was safe once again and the economy had bounced back a year after a devastating earthquake and tsunami killed nearly 15,000 people and sparked the world’s worst nuclear crisis in 25 years.

Speaking at an event to commemorate the first anniversaru of the disaster, Saiki claimed that the country was safe now and urged the people to “go and witness the resurgence of Japan first hand.”

Saiki said though 71,124 people had to be evacuated after the disaster, his country was recovering quickly.

“Japan has been steadily on the path of recovery. The Fukushima Daichi reactor has been successfully shut down and will be decommissioned and the industrial production has already crossed the pre-disaster levels,” he said.

Saiki also expressed gratitude to India and other countries which had rushed to Japan’s aid and contributed in relief work and said that despite the disaster, Japan had not reduced the Official Development Assistance (ODA) to India, one of its top recipients.

National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) vice chairman M. Shashidhar Reddy, the guest of honor at the event, praised the Japanese people for their indomitable spirit, adding “the people of India are by their side.”

Immediately after the quake, a 46-member team of India’s National Disaster Relief Force led by Commandant Alok Awasthi was dispatched to Japan to aid in the relief operations. Awasthi was also present at Sunday’s event, along with several Indian and foreign diplomats.

An exhibition mounted on the occassion revealed that although the magnitude of disaster was huge, the Japanese had been able to quickly restore normalcy. One photograph showed a 150-metre-long stretch of a highway wrecked by the quake. Another image taken a week later showed the road completely repaired.

The gathering also observed a minute’s silence to pay homage to the victims of the 9-magnitude quake.

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