japan pm naoto kan 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
TOKYO - Japan's
prime minister made his first visit to the country's tsunami-devastated
region on Saturday and entered a nuclear exclusion zone to meet workers
grappling to end the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl.
Minister Naoto Kan spoke with refugees living in a makeshift camp in the
fishing village of Rikuzentakata, decimated by the tsunamis which
struck on March 11 when Japan was rocked by a massive earthquake,
leaving 28,000 dead and missing.
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"It will be kind of a long
battle, but the government will be working hard together with you until
the end. I want everyone to do their best, too," Kan told one survivor
in a school that was now an evacuation shelter.
tsunami-seawalls, Rikuzentaka was flattened into a wasteland of mud and
debris and most of its 23,000 population killed or injured, many swept
away by the waves.
"A person that used to have a house near the coast told me 'Where am I
supposed to build a house after this?', so I encouraged this person and
said the government will provide support until the end," Kan told
Unpopular and under pressure to quit or call a snap poll before the
disaster, Kan has been criticized for his management of Japan's
humanitarian and nuclear crisis and his leadership remains in question.
"There are some evacuation centers that lack electricity and water.
There are people who can't even go look for the dead. I want him to pay
attention to them," said Kazuo Sato, a 45-year-old fisherman.
Kan later entered the 20 km (12 mile) evacuation zone on Saturday and
visited J-village just inside the zone, a sports facility serving as the
headquarters for emergency teams trying to cool the six-reactor
Fukushima Daiichi plant.
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