INTERVIEW: Ex-PM Abe Wants Tokyo Games to Go Down in History

Politics

Tokyo, March 5 (Jiji Press)--Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said that the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics this summer will "go down in history" if Japan can hold the events in defiance of the new coronavirus pandemic.

During his second tenure as prime minister, Tokyo in 2013 won its bid to host the quadrennial sporting events as the country hoped to leverage the games to promote the reconstruction of areas devastated by the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, and the subsequent severe nuclear accident. The Summer Olympics and Paralympics, originally scheduled for 2020, were postponed to this year due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The Abe administration "was able to play a certain role" in the postdisaster reconstruction, he said in a recent interview with Jiji Press, ahead of the 10th anniversary of the disaster. The March 11 quake and tsunami mainly damaged the Tohoku northeastern region, including Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, and led to an unprecedented triple meltdown at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.'s <9501> Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

Abe, who became prime minister for the second time in December 2012, stepped down in September last year due to illness. Abe, a member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, remains a lawmaker of the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of the Diet, the country's parliament. His first tenure as prime minister lasted for only a year, until September 2007.

When the natural and nuclear disasters happened, Sadakazu Tanigaki, then leader of the LDP, which was an opposition party at the time, fully cooperated with the administration of the now-defunct Democratic Party of Japan in the effort to contain the nuclear crisis.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press