Japanese prime minister promises support for disaster victims

Other News Materials 2 April 2011 09:58 (UTC +04:00)

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan on Saturday promised his full support to victims of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters during a visit to the affected north-eastern region, media reports said, dpa reported.

"It is a long struggle but the government will support you until the end and do its best. Please remain tenacious," Kan told a group of firefighters in the city of Rikuzentakata in Iwate prefecture, badly hit by the magnitude-9 earthquake and tsunami on March 11.

He also visited an emergency shelter set up in a school and urged the inhabitants to be brave.

The prime minister was also due to visit an operations base at a football training ground, 20 kilometres from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, to speak to soldiers and rescuers.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said it was important for the premier to see the situation for himself and talk to those affected during the one-day trip to the area.

Thousands of Japanese as well as US military personnel and rescuers were Saturday searching for the missing in the badly damaged city of Ishinomaki in Miyagi prefecture.

The second day of the planned three-day effort was focusing on the area around a primary school where many pupils were caught by the tsunami. Divers were also searching a nearby river. On Friday, 32 bodies were discovered in the rubble.

The director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano, said the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was "very serious."