12 Years On: Lawmaker Onodera Sees Restoration of Hometowns Crucial


Tokyo, March 2 (Jiji Press)--Reconstruction from disasters is about restoring "furusato" hometowns, former Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera, a House of Representatives lawmaker from an area heavily damaged by a massive disaster 12 years ago, has said.

Postdisaster reconstruction involves not only industries and populations but also the hearts and souls of affected people, Onodera, elected from the No. 6 constituency in Miyagi Prefecture, one of the three northeastern Japan prefectures hit hardest by the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami, said.

"This will be a long battle, but I want to work hard on the issue" so that people can think that areas hit by the disaster "have become stronger" than before the catastrophe, he said in an interview ahead of the 12th anniversary of the disaster.

Recalling what happened on that day, Onodera, a member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, which was an opposition party at the time, said that he was around the LDP secretary-general's room at the party's headquarters in Tokyo when the earthquake occurred.

As he heard that a massive quake had struck the Tohoku northeastern region, which includes Miyagi, he called his mother in the coastal city of Kesennuma in the prefecture. He said he was relieved to be able to speak with her over the phone at the time.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press