Emperor Akihito

Pre-Recorded Speech to the Nation on Disaster Relief Efforts and Hope

delivered 16 March 2011

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[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text version below transcribed directly from audio]

The 9.0 earthquake that struck the Tohoku-Pacific region was an extraordinarily large earthquake. I have been deeply hurt by the miserable situation in the affected areas. The number of deaths from earthquakes and tsunamis has increased day by day, and we do not know yet how many victims we will eventually have. I pray for the survival of as many people as possible.

I am also deeply concerned about the situation at the nuclear power plant, as no one can predict what will happen next. It is my deepest hope that, by the effort of all those people concerned, the current situation can be prevented from becoming any worse.

Currently, a nationwide rescue operation is taking place. However, under the severely cold weather, many evacuees have been placed in an unavoidable situation where they are subject to extreme suffering, due to the lack of food, drinking water, fuel, and so on. I truly hope that by making the greatest effort possible to rescue the victims promptly we can improve their lives as much as possible. And, hopefully, these efforts we will be able to encourage the victims and offer them hope, as they try to recover.

More than anything, I am deeply impressed by the courageousness of people who have survived the disaster, encouraging themselves as victims, and trying to live for tomorrow. We have people working for our nation and local self-governing bodies, such as self-defense forces, police, fire fighters, and the Japan Coast Guard, rescuers from other countries, and people who belong to various relief organizations in Japan. These people have been working day and night to move the rescue operation forward despite the fact that they are under the dangerous situation of aftershocks. I am deeply grateful for these relief efforts, and I would like to show my appreciation for their efforts.

I have received telegrams of sympathy from heads of state around the world, one after another, whose words indicate that their nations’ hearts and deep emotions are with the victims of this disaster. I will convey this message to people in the affected areas.

I have been informed that there are many people abroad discussing how calm the Japanese have remained -- helping one another, and showing disciplined conduct, even though they are in deep grief. I hope from the bottom of my heart that we can continue working together, helping and being considerate of one another to overcome this unfortunate period.

I believe it is important that we all share to the fullest extent, and in as many ways as possible, the burden of these forthcoming days of suffering. I pray for the victims to never give up their hopes, to take care of themselves, and to live through tomorrow onwards. Also, I sincerely pray for every single person in Japan to continue thinking of the affected areas, having one’s heart with the victims, and watching over the recovery process in various regions.


Japanese Text Transcript

 

このたびの東北地方太平洋沖地震は、マグニチュード9.0という例を見ない規模の巨大地震であり、被災地の悲惨な状況に深く心を痛めています。

地震や津波による死者の数は、日を追って増加し、犠牲者が何人になるのかもわかりません。1人でも、多くの人の無事が確認されることを願っています。また現在、原子力発電所の状況が予断を許さぬものであることを深く案じ、関係者の尽力により、事態のさらなる悪化が回避されることを切に願っています。

現在、国を挙げての救援活動が進められていますが、厳しい寒さの中で、多くの人々が食料、飲料水、燃料などの不足により、極めて苦しい避難生活を余儀なくされています。その速やかな救済のために全力を挙げることにより、被災者の状況が少しでも好転し、人々の復興への希望につながっていくことを心から願わずにはいられません。

そして何にも増して、この大災害を生き抜き、被災者としての自らを励ましつつ、これからの日々を生きようとしている人々の雄々しさに深く胸を打たれています。自衛隊、警察、消防、海上保安庁をはじめとする国や地方自治体の人々、諸外国からの救援のために来日した人々。 国内のさまざまな救援組織に属する人々が、余震の続く危険な状況の中で、日夜、救援活動を進めている努力に感謝し、その労を深くねぎらいたく思います。

今回、世界各国の元首から、相次いでお見舞いの電報が届き、その多くに各国国民の気持ちが、被災者と共にあるとの言葉が添えられていました。これを被災地の人々にお伝えします。海外においては、この深い悲しみの中で、日本人が取り乱すことなく助け合い、秩序ある対応を示していることに触れた論調も多いと聞いています。
これからも、皆が相携え、いたわりあって、この不幸な時期を乗り越えることを衷心より願っています。

被災者のこれからの苦難の日々を、私たち皆が、さまざまな形で、少しでも多く分かち合っていくことが大切であろうと思います。

被災した人々が、決して希望を捨てることなく、体を大切に、あすからの日々を生き抜いてくれるよう。また、国民1人1人が、被災した各地域のうえに、これからも長く心を寄せ、被災者とともに、それぞれの地域の復興の道のりを見守り続けていくことを心より願っています。


Book/CDs by Michael E. Eidenmuller, Published by McGraw-Hill (2008)

Research Note: English translation by Dr. Naomi Kagawa

Audio Note: AR-XE = American Rhetoric Extreme Enhancement

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