Sun, May 08, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Forum to build up ties with post-disaster Japan

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff Reporter

Architects for post-disaster reconstruction in Japan after the country’s March 11 earthquake and tsunami laid out their vision for recovery in Taipei on Friday and encouraged Taiwanese participation.

“All services of [Japanese bullet train] Shinkansen in [disaster-hit] northeastern Japan have returned to normal operations, thanks to help from Taiwan, but there is more to be done … We wish to work together with friends in Taiwan to create a new future for Asia,” said Kazuhiro Haraguchi, a member of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) in the House of Representatives at a roundtable forum hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs-affiliated Association of East Asian Relations.

The occasion brought together Japanese politicians, academics and business leaders who are taking part in the recovery, who briefed their Taiwanese counterparts on opportunities for cooperation in post-disaster Japan.

About two months after the massive magnitude 9 earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, more than 27,000 people have been reported dead or missing. About 130,000 people are living in 2,500 shelters set up in schools, gymnasiums and community centers.

About 80,000 evacuees are still banned from returning to their homes in the 20km evacuation zone around the damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, which has leaked radioactive material.

Japan Research Institute chairman Jitsuro Terashima, an adviser to Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan, said the disaster has “changed our way of thinking about nuclear energy.”

“Last June, the energy guideline declared by the DPJ showed how heavily it planned to rely on nuclear energy, with a plan to raise the percentage of electricity generated by nuclear power from 30 percent to 50 percent by 2030. But now, we will look to developing renewable sources. Nuclear energy will still remain in the energy mix, but not as a main source anymore,” Terashima said.

Kenzo Fujisue, a member of the House of Representatives, said Japan aims to turn the disaster-hit areas into new communities which can handle the problems facing humankind in the 21st century, such as an aging society, global warming, food shortages and the depletion of conventional energy sources.

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